Dressed in a dark red ghagra-choli and odhni, with indigenous motifs on it, Manguben warmly welcomed me with a smile so bright that it I couldn’t help but feel glad about my field visit in Bhachau. It is a small town located in the Kutch district of Gujarat. The majority of the Rabari community are found to be dwelling in this town. And most of them are mainly dependent for a livelihood on the dairy profession. Manguben, who belongs to the Rabari community, has also been running the traditional business of dairy farming for 10 years now.
It was a Monday afternoon, a day marked with relentless heat and wearyingly long journeys. I was in this part of district to check on the progress of Jay Dashama Mahila Mandal, a group being led by Manguben, after they had been provided with the necessary funds from the Milaap community of lenders for expanding their respective microenterprises.
Manguben, a 35-year-old cheerful woman, has been independently running her dairy business for quite a long time now. Her husband, who works as a driver, has always been very supportive. Together, they manage to meet their household expenses and fund the education of their 6-year-old son. Things changed positively when she borrowed a loan from Milaap a few months back. Previously, she had one buffalo. But, with the loan, she bought one more buffalo, and that not only increased her monthly income, but her business witnessed an exponential growth. She sells 7 liters of milk every day; the price being Rs. 40 per liter. One thing that is surely remarkable here, is that she is able to save Rs. 2000 on a monthly basis, which is four times more than what she could save earlier.
Strong and independent women like Manguben have a lot of potential. And it’s only with the support from lenders like you that they can fulfill their dreams. As I was about to leave, Manguben gave me that same big bright smile, one that straightaway warms the heart. And she expressed her gratitude to the lenders who had been responsible for that change in her life.
Manguben, all smiles at her home