My husband was a mason doing contract-based work in our village. I did odd stitching jobs during my free time to supplement our income. However, with two children to put through school and increasing living costs, we realized that our current income won’t be sufficient to sustain.
In 2014, Centrum’s Loan Officer was in our village to meet with a group of women. He explained the concept of a joint liability group loan and assisted us if I was keen to start a business of my own. I decided to take a loan of Rs 36,000. Since I was good at cooking, I drew out a business plan to make small quantities of ‘murkhu’ (Chakli), which is a popular snack all over India. My husband assisted me in taking the stock to the local market and selling it to customers. The snack drew popularity from locals and demand increased. As we were unable to manage the entire operations by ourselves, we decided to hire daily wage workers to help us expand. With the help of two additional workers, we again achieved operating at full capacity and were now able to sell to nearby villages as well. With my second loan cycle, I employed an additional 6 workers, paying them each over Rs 120/- per day. Together, we make over 1000 – 1200 packets of murkhu every day, with all responsibilities divided equally amongst us.
We engaged with Mr. Gupta, a larger distributor, who now helps us reach our products in over 12 markets. My children are in 6th and 8th standard respectively, and we are happy that we are living a respectable life and providing employment to over 8 people as well. I am extremely grateful to Centrum and hope to continue being associated with them so I can expand my business further.
I started off my career at a very young age, working for an imitation jewelry manufacturer. I was earning Rs 8 per day and I gradually picked up the craftsmanship well. At the age of 16, I got married to an electrician, and soon after I was blessed with two children. As our family grew, our income remained constant, leading to financial difficulties. I took a Joint Liability Loan from Centrum and started a small business, purchased raw materials of jewelry products, and further processed them. Our income increased and lifestyle improved. A few years ago, my husband fell ill and was unable to work as earlier, thereby reducing our income. In the last few months, owing to the lockdown, my jewelry processing business also went through a slowdown. That’s when Centrum’s loan officer told me about their new MEL Product, which I felt would help my business grow further. As the unlock began, demand recovered and business started picking up. I now employ 6 people, paying them Rs 280 per day. We personally, collect un-finished jewelry from Malad, process it, and sell the finished product at the Crawford market in Mumbai. We have expanded our services to offer customized designs as well. From working 12-hour shifts to becoming an entrepreneur it’s been a fulfilling experience. I thank Centrum for supporting me on my journey of finding myself. Among all my friends who worked together at the shop, I am the only woman who successfully started a business, despite always being discouraged by the men around me. I feel empowered myself, and I hope to inspire many more women to take that leap and fly.
After my husband’s death,2 years ago, my daughter and I moved in to stay with my parents. I began working at a parlor where I learned about beauty treatments and even learned how to run one. I was struggling between long hours at work and taking care of my daughter at home as both my parents were running a grocery shop. I always wished that someday I could open a parlor of my own so that I could improve my financial status and also work flexi-hours.
A year ago, Centrum’s Loan Officer approached me and explained the concept of Joint Liability Group Loan. With the loan amount of Rs 30,000 sanctioned to me, I started a parlor. I run the shop myself, and even provide home services for many of my clients. In the future, I hope to expand the parlor.
Priti says, “When it seemed impossible to move ahead in life with my husband passing, Centrum Microcredit came as a ray of hope and encouragement that I needed to be an independent successful businesswoman.”
My husband works at a shop that makes reading glasses and his income was not enough to meet our household expenses and provide good quality education to our two children. We were barely able to save anything and I had to do small jobs, like stitching sari blouses, etc, to help generate an additional income.
About 1 year ago I heard about a few women around my area joining to form a group in order to get a loan and start businesses of their own. Centrum’s Loan Officer approached me and explained to me about the joint liability group loan and I decided to take a loan and Rs 60,000 was sanctioned from Centrum based on my credit and business plan.
With some advice from friends and neighbors, I decided to start a business manufacturing paper plates. Using the loan amount, we bought a paper plate-making machine and the required raw material. I installed the machine at home as I can look after my children even when I am working. The machine can make around 30 to 40 plates in one cycle and one sack consists of 300 paper plates. I then package them for delivery to a distributor who I have tied up with and he further sells it in the market. I decided to get into this business because there is a good demand for paper plates and are eco-friendlier compared to plastic. This business and the opportunity to earn an additional income has brought in a lot of excitement and hope in our lives. Apart from being a homemaker, I have also become a women entrepreneur.
I am grateful to Centrum Microcredit for helping me fulfill my dreams, and having made a big difference in our quality of life. I am looking forward to expanding my business and also once the pandemic ends, I will send my children to a better school.
Hemprabha Sharma, a resident of Birgaon, Raipur lives with her husband and two sons. Birgaon provides limited employment opportunities and the only viable option is entrepreneurship. Hemprabha’s husband is an Ayurvedic doctor, running a small clinic in the village. As the family grew, her husband’s limited income was not enough to cope with their requirements.
Like any parent, Hemprabha wanted to educate her children well and build a platform to make them economically independent. Her husband, being a doctor, she felt it would be appropriate to start a small pharmacy close to the clinic. This would complement her husband’s business, wherein he would prescribe the medicines and recommend her pharmacy for the sale. Once established, this pharmacy could, later on, provide employment to her sons.
She met Centrum MicroCredit’s Loan Officer in 2014 and learned about the Joint Group Loan. After due financial and business planning with assistance from the company, she availed of her first loan installment of Rs. 15,000/- and started operations. Six years have passed, and with every round of additional finance, she purchased more supplies to widen her product range. Today, Hemprabha’s business has enabled her to put her sons in pharmacy college and will soon join her in the business.
Hemprabha says, “I am on my fifth loan cycle with Centrum MicroCredit and I am extremely grateful to them, for helping me achieve my dream and providing a better and secure future for my children. I can proudly say that my husband and 2 sons are the most educated and monetarily sound in our village.”
My husband and I were both unemployed due to the unavailability of jobs in the market.
We saw that the demand for food items and groceries was there but we did not have the income to keep a shop running.
Five years ago, I remember my friends in the village telling me about this company Centrum Microcredit that was providing loans to women entrepreneurs and supporting them to start a business of their own.
After receiving my 1st Loan amount of Rs 20,000/-, I went to the market and bought essential fast-moving items required daily and by the 2nd and 3rd loan cycle, I finally put up a Kirana store close to home.
We can proudly say that we also contribute to our joint family’s income. We have put our children through school and I will continue to work so I can secure their future.
Sushma Vastrakar is from a town in Bilaspur, and her husband’s income was not enough to run their home. With the little money they had saved she got herself a sewing machine and started stitching blouses.
After learning about the Joint Liability Group Loan from Centrum’s Loan officer, she took a loan of Rs 50,000 with which she brought 2 more sewing machines and hired 2 of her friends to work for her. Now she does stitching of all women’s apparel.
She is on her 2nd Loan cycle with Centrum and wishes to continue being associated with us so that with another Loan she hopes to buy an all-in-one Sewing, fall, pico, and zig-zag embroidery machine.
With the steady income, she has put her children through school and has even managed to save money for their future. She is extremely grateful to be associated with Centrum.
Gomti Dewangan comes from a Family of 6 and she knew her husband’s income alone would not be sufficient to run the household. From the little money they had saved, she bought a sewing machine and started stitching women’s apparel.
As her business gained momentum, she realized she could take on additional responsibility. She decided to take a Joint Liability Group Loan from Centrum Microcredit. She brought one more sewing machine with the money received. With the spread of the Pandemic and masks becoming a daily accessory, she took this opportunity to start stitching cotton masks for her clients. She even matches the mask color with their sari colors. She says, “ My association with Centrum has been a great experience. They provided timely assistance that I needed to expand my sewing business. I adapted to the changes around us, and took the opportunity to improve our lifestyle.”
Aspiy Bibi is from West Bengal. She and her family lived in a mud house surrounded by Plastic. Her condition was deplorable as they did not even have any guarantee for the next meal. Her husband’s meager income was not enough for them to survive, however they did not have the resources to get into cattle farming.
When Centrum’s Loan officer approached her and explained the concept of Joint Liability Group Loan she took a loan to buy 2 cows and 2 goats.
With the stable income coming in, they have managed to put their son through school. They have even built a permanent home for themselves and a shed for the cattle. Their standard of living has improved considerably. She wishes to expand her cattle business in the future and continue with her association with Centrum
Aspiy says, “I am very thankful to Centrum Microcredit for their timely assistance in our lives. I wish to continue being associated with them.”