I met Lalhmunmawii in her home in Venghlui, Aizawl. Though her house is in the central part of the city, it was difficult to find it. A small lane going down the hill and a long flight of steps connected her locality to the main road in Venghlui. Only after asking around for Lalhmunmawii, a few of her neighbors pointed us to her house at the corner of the hill. As we entered, Lalhmunmawii was arranging some 70- 80 second-hand pyjamas according to their sizes. She had just bought a heap of pyjamas from the market and was planning to distribute some to her friends for sale and sell some herself in her locality. She explained to me how she supplies different sets of second hand clothes from different suppliers and always experiments with buying newer varieties like pyjamas, sweaters, women's garments and anything that would be trending in the season.
Lalhmunmawii and her group members each took a loan of Rs.20,000 last year in July to use it for their individual businesses. Lalhmunmawii gets a contract annually from ATI (Administrative Technological Institution) to make back-packs for students studying there. If sometimes she is lucky, she bags the contract twice a year. She makes around Rs.30,000 to 40,000 when she gets this contract. Lalhmunmawii has to buy all the raw materials to make 80 to 100 units of these bags and then claim the amount from ATI. She used the loan to buy these raw materials in bulk. She says it was a great help because often she used to fall short of enough cash to buy materials. She explains that the order needs to be completed in a month and her whole family helps her in every step be it cutting, ironing or stitching of the materials. Lalhmunmawii is also an expert at making curtains, and cushion and pillow covers. She says that the earnings from the stitching business is not enough to support her family so she sells second hand clothes too. It's important for her to save some money and use the rest of her profits in other businesses. The loan made this reinvestment easier for her.
Lalhmunmawii lives with her husband and two sons. Her husband helps her in her businesses and is also an active member in the village council. One of her sons takes kids in his locality to school and earns a small sum of money, while the other son is disabled and mostly stays at home. Lalhmunmawii is an enterprising woman who grabs different opportunities that come her way.
Lalhmunmawii sitting beside a heap of second hand pyjamas