Solar lanterns helped them capitalize on bulk Puja orders | Milaap

Solar lanterns helped them capitalize on bulk Puja orders

With the Durga Puja around the corner, the city of Kolkata and all its outlying suburban areas were bustling with people out and about, shopping for friends and family, or getting a sneak peek at the various beautiful pandals being erected for the festival. I was able to experience the pre-Puja fever when I hopped on the train down to Dakshin Barasat. Normally, the train heading away from Kolkata is pretty empty, but on that day, each and every compartment was packed with people coming and going from the city. When I got off at the Dakshin Barasat station, I was able to see a few small but beautifully decorated pandals being set up.
Even though most of the women that are members of DCBS are of the Muslim faith, many are just as excited to wear new clothes and go to the local fair, or go pandal-hopping at Durga Puja time. Luckily for these women, right after the Pujas are over, they get to celebrate Eid too. Today, I was able to meet with the women of the self-help group "Reshmi" and talk about their Puja and Eid plans among other things. Most of the women in the group "Reshmi" have been a part of DCBS for 5-6 years, and have been receiving financial support for various businesses ranging from "Chikan" work to small-scale brick kilns.
Many women in the group "Reshmi" have opted to receive solar lanterns through loans funded by Milaap lenders. I was able to speak with group leader Najira Seikh about the solar lanterns and the impact on their daily-lives. Najira Seikh owns a little tailoring shop that produces women's blouses. She told me that the lanterns have really helped her increase her production during the night when she does not have other duties to attend to like taking care of her young children: "After I put them to bed I can finally start really working on the clothes."
Now that the Pujas and Eid are coming up she and many others are even busier completing orders for garments. "In the weeks leading up to the Pujas, some of the other girls and I can earn about Rs. 10,000 per bulk order; without having the solar lanterns it would be difficult to produce as much.”
All the ladies were looking forward to the next week’s break, and invited me to their homes for their Eid feasts. They also wanted to thank all the lenders at Milaap for supporting them and investing in their futures.

Caught in the festival’s gaiety, the women got gently playful with their new solar lanterns