Stepping out of their protective shells | Milaap

Stepping out of their protective shells

I met Geetha, Selvamani, Thottachi, Gomathi and Rajeswari at their village, Kaduvetti, on a surreal Thursday afternoon. They seemed enthusiastic about being interviewed and welcomed me a lot of excitement. It's been two months since they've taken the loan from Milaap, through GMF, for the purpose of establishing their own wire bag business. They pay a monthly installment of Rs.800 per person, per month. 

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Anticlockwise: Selvarani and her son, Geetha, Thottachi, Gomathi and Rajeshwari
All of them work as daily wage laborers in construction and agriculture sector. They  earn somewhere between Rs.60 to Rs.100 per day from that. But work is never regular. They were all employed under the NREGA scheme earlier, but it's been two months since that has been discontinued. So, to supplement their monthly income, they decided to start their own business. After coming back from work and finishing their household chores, they manage to put in 2 to 3 hours in making bags. So far they've been selling the bags to relatives and friends. One of them also sits at the weekly vegetable market set up at their village. All of them make the bags and then hand it over to her. They told me they expect their business to grow rapidly, as not too many people in the village sell wire bags and there is great demand for it. The only problem they face is in getting the raw materials, for which they have to go all the way to Trichy city some 70kms away. They said they are shy of stepping out of their village and traveling alone to the city without any male company, but that they will now have to come out their protective environment for the sake of running a successful business. They seem determined in pursuing their goal and I am confident they will turn out to be bold entrepreneurs in less than a few months. 

Anticlockwise: Selvarani and her son, Geetha, Thottachi, Gomathi and Rajeshwari