She Left No Stone Unturned In Giving Her Family the Life They Deserve | Milaap

She Left No Stone Unturned In Giving Her Family the Life They Deserve

Living in a small village in rural West Bengal, Baduria, is a family who has made a decision to  live their lives in a different way. Unperturbed by the society and its norms, they are growing in their own way, following their own set of principles. We have often heard, read, listened to the stories of such revolutionaries, and this one is surely one among them.

One sunny afternoon, I was struggling to walk owing to the scorching May sun. I was on a field visit along with my field partner staff. I stood outside the house of Bina Mondal for five minutes before she came out. A lady in her late forties, she walked up to us and warmly welcomed us.

Bina’s family comprises four sisters, a brother, and a widowed mother. Bina lost her father when she was in her twenties. Her beloved father was a bus conductor who lost his life in a bus accident. After that, life changed for them.  With no breadwinner in the family, things took a drastic turn. With the flowing income from her husband’s profession, the family was living comfortably. But, then things came to a standstill. Bina’s mother is uneducated and had never taken any skills training.

It was then, that Bina, the eldest daughter began to take tuitions as a source of bread and butter for the family. Bina has completed her B.A. and her education gave her an opportunity to earn for her family. She left behind all her dreams and took all the responsibilities upon her shoulders. When her friends and the other girls in the village were getting married, she decided to forgo of the dream to have a family of her own.

“My sister's both a mother to me and my father too,” the younger sister, Soma described Bina. Having worked as a teacher for a short period, Bina realized she had to earn more for educating her siblings. She started taking skills training from the other women in the neighborhood for stitching woollen garments. Her persistence and determination slowly got her to learn and then to perfect her art.

An insightful entrepreneur, Bina began to look for opportunities to earn more with her freshly acquired skills. She started taking up small-scale projects and earning better but not enough. Gradually, her sisters also became a part of her small business. Soma and Archana, both her sisters still live with her. The three sisters worked hard day and night to grow their small business.

Today, their business helps them earn a profit of Rs. 8000 in a month.

“Our business is very well renowned in the village. None of our stock goes unsold,” said Soma. They have made good connections and expanded their business network. They make woollen garments such as blouses, sweaters, children’s woollen wear, etc.
“We can easily get the final stitching outsourced at just Rs. 2 per piece. But, we manage it amongst ourselves and it would not be wise to share our profits,” said Bina. “Yes, we can do the stitching while watching TV. It also keeps us occupied,” Soma said.

They also make sure to maintain their financial records and a written account of all their business operations. Soma brought to me a booklet that maintained details of their accounts and orders. Lying between the pages was a manual explaining the latest techniques of stitching woollen garments. Divided into various styles and designs, the booklet explained in detail each of them, followed by a picture of applying the same on the machine. Soma said she read it to learn the unique ways of stitching.

“We were given an order from a designer to make garments worth Rs. 60,000 - Rs. 70,000 but we did not have a machine to do the job,” Soma said. “We are pushing ourselves to buy better machines, then we will take such orders,” she said. Soma's optimism was, indeed, inspiring.

These sisters were determined to change their lives and they did it.

In order to know what had she had planned for future, I asked her if she wanted to get married and have a family of her own. To which she said, “I don’t want to get married. My father has not left that kind of money for me. I have bigger plans," she said. Her words stayed with me for days. Her dreams were bigger than getting married. She aspires to take orders from big designers and expand the business further.