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Providing Wings to a Woman's Entrepreneurial Zest

The client (name kept hidden) is a married woman residing with her husband and a son in a semi-urban locality in Chandkheda, Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India). She has been a longstanding member of Prayas and has taken loans for almost 8 to 10 times. Currently, she is involved in diverse activities such as sewing, interlocking, and trading plastic kitchen wares. Moreover, she has been involved in diverse income generating activities since the last 20 years. Before, she used to bring the work of sewing traditional outfits from the suppliers at Law Garden area, which is a renowned market for the trade of traditional outfits in Ahmedabad. After sewing the outfits, she would pass them on to other women-artisans belonging to her community. These artisans would do intricate, traditional hand-embroidery on the outfits. In this way, the client provided employment to other women in her community and helped in retaining the traditional art and craft of the region.

Before 10 years, she purchased an interlock machine using the loan amount she took from Prayas. When asked about the acquired household assets over the years, she said, “I can say that my household has many assets in Prayas' name. I bought a new television and a two-wheeler vehicle. All of these assets have been purchased using the savings that I made from my income and wherever required, my husband added the remaining money to supplement the purchase.” She expressed the following views when asked about her enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, “I always had an entrepreneurial mindset. My husband owns an electrical shop. So, when I found that there was a small unoccupied space in the shop, I wondered why it should be wasted. I immediately decided to start trading plastic kitchen wares. I bought these items myself from the market and put them on a display in the unoccupied space of my husband’s shop. This is not the end of my story. Sometimes I even send cloth fabric to my sister at my native place. She has excellent negotiating skills and gets quite a good price for the fabric from the customers. I have even sent my old sewing machine to her, so that she can earn an income using it. I always look to do business profitably. I purchase a saree-fall for Rs. 9 from the wholesale market which otherwise would cost me Rs. 12, if I purchase it from the local market.”

The clients’s income over the years has increased by around 30-35%. She has also developed a habit of making savings. As of now, she saves Rs. 500 monthly in her savings bank account and Rs. 500 as monthly premium for a life insurance policy of her son. She has used her latest loan amount to purchase Rs. 20,000 worth of plastic kitchen wares and Rs. 10,000 worth of saree falls. Even today when she gets excess sewing-work, she would pass on the work to other sisters in her community and pay them fair piece-rates. She even paid for a one-year-long computer certification course undertaken by her son. On asking about the future aspirations for her business, she replied, “I want more support and cooperation from Prayas to scale my current business activities and even venture into new business activities.”

The blog is authored by Bansari Buha.


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