Plonking myself on the back seat of the motorcycle, I, along with one of the staff members of the Dhrangadhra unit office, headed towards the house of one of the borrowers I was supposed to meet for the day. I doubt I’ll forget how difficult it was for him to drive the motorcycle through the narrow roads, which had transformed themselves into a huge mass of mud puddles all over. There came a point when the motorcycle got stuck in one of those puddles, and it refused to budge even an inch from its place. At that moment, it just seemed like we were very close to falling, but luckily, that didn’t happen. From that point onwards, we instantly decided to walk the rest of the way.
We were to check on a group member from the Sairam Mahila Mandal, a group of women entrepreneurs led by Naynaba Jayrajsinh Zala, who had sought crowdfunded loans from Milaap’s community of lenders to develop their small businesses.
Dressed in a grey shade of bandhani dress, Chhayaben Bhatt, 38, a slender woman with a petite frame, and a mother of two young children, welcomed us to her house. On listening to her tale of success, I looked in wonder and awe at this woman who looked like she was barely her late twenties.
Chhayaben always wanted to do something of her own. This woman, who has just attained her primary level education, started her business of selling readymade garments from her home seven years ago. With the passage of years, the business grew considerably. What stood as a great help for Chhayaben was the support from her family: her husband, children, and her father-in-law. With the loan from Milaap taken by her few months back, she bought a lot of stock, which included garments, home decoration materials, and imitation jewelry. Not only was she able to expand her business and increase the family income, she was able to fulfill her dream.
Chhayaben, who is able to make a sum of Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 25,000 every month, depending on whether it is an off season or not, now wishes to own a shop of her own and grow the business further. This is incredible growth, give that when she applied for her loan, she had hoped to double her income to Rs. 15,000 a month. She has surpassed that dream and goal, almost tripling her income by investing her loan wisely.
“During festivals and occasions, the profit rate is much more than the regular days,” Chhayaben shared one of her business tips with a smile.
What she eventually wants is the best for her children. Both her children 7-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter study in English medium schools. She expressed her sincere gratitude for the loan provided.
Chhayaben grew her small business with a Milaap loan, tripling her income in a few months