As written by our Fellow, Akanksha who is working closely with our field partner, WSDS in Mizoram. Lalhmangaihi with her four other friends in the neighbourhood took a loan of Rs. 1,00,000 in June last year. All of them used to do tailoring and make bags and clothes at small scale. They decided to go big and sell their products outside their neighbourhood.
The loan helped them to buy raw materials like rexine, leather, zippers, beads and other items for their products. Lalhmanghaihi says that they make and sell these products as a group and later divide the profits among themselves equally. Since they don't own a shop they rely on orders from other women who do door to door selling. It may take time for them to receive payments for their products.
The loan has helped them to deal with such situations. They also sell their products to dealers outside Aizawl. In such transactions, it takes longer for them to receive their payments. Some women in the group make clothes, some make air bags and computer bags. Ms Lalmangihi herself makes hand bags and sling bags for women. They add that if they have an emergency and the order needs to be completed early they also work throughout the night sometimes. They earn around Rs. 30,000 - 40,000 as a group.Senhri group plans to expand and wish to take a bigger loan. They want to employ more women to for stitching in order to take bigger orders. They also say that its better to work from home rather than take a shop because it increases the overhead costs.
Lalmangihi is unmarried and stays with her parents and her three younger brothers. She and her eldest brother earn for the family.
Lalmangihi shows a cloth bag stitched by her