Written by our fellow, Prachita Shetty who is working closely with our field partner Prayas in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.Week two was ‘Meet the Borrower’ week for me. I met three inspiring women who under great adversities; stepped up and made significant changes in their lives. Alpaben started a tailoring project 6-months back when her husband developed a serious liver condition. Sunitaben runs a makeshift beauty parlor from her house to support her family and educate her three children. Baluben, who has been living alone since her husband left her a few years back; grew her business and made almost double the profit, thanks to her newly acquired Milaap loan.At the risk of sounding like an awestruck teenager, I have decided to make this piece about Baluben because she is just amazing. 45-year old Baluben, lives alone in a quaint little house in Chandkheda. She has been selling sarees for almost 10 years now. Her recent loan with Milaap helped her source better quality and quantity sarees from a wholesale market that she later sells in her district. Recently, she met with a bike accident and got three stitches on her head from the fall. But Baluben being the woman that she is, remained undeterred and told me, her future plans of traveling and visiting Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. Apparently, Mathura has a great wholesale market for artificial jewelry and she is thinking of expanding her business from sarees, petticoats and blouses to ornaments.
Though I told her I don’t wear sarees; she still went for her saree collection, displayed it on her front porch and urged me to pick one nevertheless.