Thanks to the lender who wished to read Radhiga’s story, I got a fortunate chance to meet her, being the current Milaap fellow at Trichy, Tamil Nadu. On a very fine morning, I set out for Keelakottam village of Musiri block. When I reached her house, Radhiga was preparing food for her children in her thatched kitchen. Just opposite to that kitchen, there was her small house of two rooms where her children were playing. Seeing me, she rushed out of kitchen to greet. Soon we parked ourselves on steps of entrance for further words.
Radhiga, 27, had availed a microloan of Rs. 5,000 to get a water connection at her door step. She said that in that house, she lived with her three kids only. The eldest son studies in 5th standard at Government Primary School of the village. The son younger to him also goes in the same school and studies in 4th standard. And the youngest son is just one and half years old. Informing about other members of her family, she said, “My husband is a mason and lives in Coimbatore with my parents-in-law. He comes here once a month to hand me over some money for the monthly household expense.” After a short pause (to clear her throat), she said, “This is his parents’ inherited house. I take care of it and their four goats.” As she finished this dialogue a silence of a few seconds washed the surroundings.
Discussing about the situation prior to the loan, she said that the public tap was located in the next lane (around 300 meters from her home), and she used to walk twice a day to bring water from there. In one time, she would bring 4-5 buckets of water in 2-3 rounds. Thus, she would make 4-6 rounds a day. This process of fetching water buckets by buckets was quite strenuous and time consuming for her. Apart from this, she had to wait in the queue as well. Radhiga said, “My children were small and this long process used to eat up 3-4 hours a day. I had to ask a neighbor woman to take care of them in my absence.”
Radhiga said that the new water connection was fixed after a week of getting the loan amount. Her husband and his friends had helped in bringing all the required items from Musiri town, including water pipes, tap, tank, etc. She said that besides loan amount, they had to invest Rs. 2,000 more from their savings as the loan amount was completely spent in purchasing the materials only. The cost of labor had been managed by them. Gladly sharing her experience of water connection at home, she said, “Now, I fill the running tap water (supplied Cauvery water) in a tank of 50 liters capacity and use it for the entire day. This has saved lots of time that I give to my children.” Things have really changed from this microloan, the prime evening hours, which she used to spend trekking for water are now used in assisting the children in their school home works.
She has a toilet at her home and using it has become more convenient now. The water is no longer an issue for Radhiga. Though there are other issues for her to battle with. The monthly income of her husband is Rs. 7,000 only. Monthly he gives Rs. 2,000 to her for managing everything which is a difficult task for her. In the hope of positive change, she said, “I want to work, though from the home itself, and earn to supplement in the household income.” She asked me if I could help her in any way. I informed her about Milaap’s partner GMF that provides loans for women enterprise development. After my suggestion, the enduring spirit and hope were evident in her eyes and words.
My heartiest wishes will always be with Radhiga and her children.