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Achieving a Sustainable Diversified Income

The client (name kept hidden to maintain client confidentiality) is a married woman residing in a semi-urban location in Chandkheda, Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India) with her husband, a brother and a sister. She is a self-employed woman engaged in the trade of clothes (dupattas, leggings, dress material/fabric, kurtis) from her home. She has been a member of Prayas, Ananya’s partner, for the last 5 years and took her first loan for buying materials for her small, retail trade business. On asking about the problem, she faced before taking the loan, she said “Before, I used to go to the Ghantaghar market and stitch/sew clothes and intricate patterns on them. I used to get Rs. 15-20 per piece for stitching patterns. These patterns used to change repeatedly based on market trends and hence, I had to constantly upgrade my skills to remain at par with others in the market. But then, I came to know about the group loans given by Prayas and realized that instead of going to the market for a job, it’s better if I start a small retail business of my own from my home. Before taking the loan, I used to sell only dress materials, but after taking a loan of Rs. 50,000 from Prayas, I added many new clothing items such as dupattas, leggings, and kurtis. Business had always been in my blood but I had no capital to start one. Even when I worked at Ghantaghar market, I handled all bank-related work there and worked besides the owner as if the business was my own”.

She also reported a drastic increase in her business income [profit] from INR 6,000-7,000 per month to INR 20,000 to 25,000 per month after taking the loan. She can, now, fulfil all the orders of her customers by keeping a healthy stock of 300 dupattas from 30 dupattas before taking the loan. With time, not only her business has flourished, but she has also inspired her husband to start a small, wholesale clothes business. She even provides a helping hand to her husband by stitching (sewing) beautiful readymade laces on the dupattas for further selling them in the wholesale market. She even earns an income of Rs. 500 per day through this work. Her finesse and fine-tuned sewing skills have resulted in increased demand for these laced dupattas by the wholesaler to whom they sell. The bulk buying of material has increased her bargaining power and she has been able to negotiate well on the prices with her suppliers at the Revdi Bazar, Kalupur, a cloth wholesale market in Ahmedabad.

Over the 5 years since she joined Prayas, she has been able to purchase a home in her and her husband’s name. She happily says that they have given that home on rent and the monthly interest earned through it has proven a stable source of income for her family. This increased income has also improved their diet. She and her family now consume more milk and fruits. She has become a source of motivation for other women in her community. On seeing her success, another woman (belonging to the same JLG group) has slightly changed her business model. She used to purchase ready-made hangings and then sell them. But now, she brings the raw material, prepares the hangings herself at her home and then sells it. She now earns twice what she earned before.

She actively participates in the decision-making process in her household and has also reported an increased confidence and self-esteem. She even aspires to buy a small shop and continue with her business there. When asked about her capacity to cope with emergencies, she responded that she has now enough savings and money at hand to survive even in difficult times or an emergency situation.

The blog is authored by Bansari Buha.


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