How a little help empowered Mita to take her seafood business to new heights | Milaap

How a little help empowered Mita to take her seafood business to new heights

That day, I found myself in the Bhirbum district of West Bengal, which is about 200 kilometers from Kolkata. I was, at the time, staying at the headquarters of Sreejan, a local NGO that provides small loans to the local community members, especially women, for them to establish small businesses and empower the women financially. That morning, Mr. Arup Ghosh, the head manager of Sreejan, and I went for a field visit where we met with many of the women who have been positively impacted by the loans.
 
I was lucky enough to personally chat with many of the ladies, who are organized in small groups that allow them to always be able to support one another when times get tough. One of the women I was able to speak with at length was named Mita Bagdi. She explained that she and her husband run a small seafood business at the local bazaar, where they sell various types of fish to the local marketers. For a long time, their business was not very profitable, because they could not afford to buy some of the more quality catches of the day from the larger wholesalers. It was extremely hard on them, because they are raising two small children: a three-year-old girl named Srabonthi, and a seven-year-old boy named Sayan, who is currently enrolled in class 1.
 
After some of their neighbors introduced them to Sreejan, they were able to apply for a small loan of Rs. 10,000 to invest in their business. Mita told me that they were now able to afford some of the better quality fish, which has attracted many more customers who are all well experienced when it comes to purchasing good fish. The reputation of local vendors at the bazaar is very important to business, and now that she is able to provide quality stock, many shoppers exclusively buy their fish from her stall. Her success also might have to do with her very warm, bubbly personality and the fact that she is always smiling.


Mita (right) poses with some of the other ladies in her group