Sharadhaben and the van (in background) with Sonalben’s wholesale groceries
Sanalben Ranjitbhai, also known to her friends as Sonalben, the leader of the ‘Jay Bhut Bhavani Mahila Mandal’ group, was out of town when I went to visit her in Dhrangadhra. Instead, I was able to meet her mother-in-law Sharadhaben Ghanshyambhai from the same group. In a way, it felt like I managed to interact with the entire family. From the mother-in-law to her son and his wife, they are an enterprising family. Though I didn't meet Sonalben, I did manage to see her wholesale-bought groceries which her husband sources from the city to be sold later from her home – the volume increased with help from her Milaap loan. (See picture: On the right side, you will find a van loaded with wholesale food items)
Sharadhaben on the other hand, manages a completely different business. She buys saris, chaniya cholis, blouses and other Indian outfits in bulk, at wholesale rates, and re-sells them in her village. Her Milaap loan helped her increase her sales. Apart from being a successful entrepreneur, Sharadhaben also does clerical work in a government office located close to her home. But since her husband passed away, she opted to devote more time in the sari business, as she was able to do this while staying close to her family and spending more time with them. She lives alone and takes care of herself without depending on anyone. I was glad to have met an inspiring woman like Sharadhaben, despite being unable to meet Sonalben as I had hoped.