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Ms. Soni Devi

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Ms. Soni Devi
Landhear, Kangra

Ms. Soni is 40-year-old women who lives with her husband and 3 children in a small village of Landhear in Kangra district of Himanchal Pradesh.  Due to economic struggles, she could not continue her studies after 5th standard, and she was married early by her parents. However, her dream was always to be an independent woman though she never thought about becoming an entrepreneur. However, her fate has planned something else for her. The family where she got married had been engaged into the bamboo business since more than 25 years as a primary source of income.

After getting married, Ms. Soni also started helping her husband in the business. Thereafter, she gained some experience of the business and showed her interest in the business expansion so that she could be able to provide a good education, health and lifestyle to their children and family members. Ms. Soni ’s husband really appreciated the idea of expansion of the existing business of bamboo craft.

To purchase the good quality raw material, she and her husband needed a credit support, and they didn’t want to take money from neighbors and relatives as they had already taken and have been hearing unwanted persiflage from them. The last option for the couple was to take loan from the money lenders. Finally, they had taken the loan amount of INR 70,000 from money lender and purchased the good quality of bamboo. But despite generating decent income their net profit did not went up as they were paying off exploitative interest rate to the money lender where they used to pay INR 10 over 100 rupees as an interest per month excluding the principal amount. Also, their land was mortgaged, and they could not do any saving.

While she was struggling to meet her family needs. Her husband met an accident which further pushed the family towards vicious cycle of poverty. Fortunately, her husband survived the accident, but he lost his mobility due to physical injury.

 

Despite, facing all the challenges, their will to provide quality life to their children inspired them to turn this event into an opportunity. His husband motivated Ms. Soni to learn the bamboo craft business.  She learned the new design and added product diversification in the existing business so that she would get a good margin.  She also, started engaging with market players and traders to sell out the bamboo products.

 

There was a point in their life when Ms. Soni ‘s husband wanted to shut down the business as gradually their debt was increasing.

During an evening discussion with village members near Chaupal, she got to know about group loan facilitated by SATYA MicroCapital Limited for the means of socio-economic upliftment of people in their area. She attended the centre meeting on the next day in her village and a ray of hope again entered her life. On the very next day Ms. Soni attended the center where SATYA’s field officer made her aware about the loan, process and documents which are required to get the loan. 

After mutually discussing the need of financial support with her husband, Ms. Soni availed a loan of INR 40,000. She used half of this money to pay off her all debts of money lenders and rest 50% of loan amount was used in business. Gradually their business became stable, earlier they used to do the production of 20 -30 bamboo-based home decorative items with monthly sales turnover of INR 10,500 – 12,000.

With this loan, she and her husband purchased the extra raw material and expanded the production from 20 – 30 bamboos items of each category to 50-60 bamboos items such as mat, lamp, pen stand, piggy bank, tea set, bamboo house, table etc.

Ms. Soni didn’t want to settle down with the monthly sales turnover. With experience and market exposure she got to know that she would get good price of her products if she will sell the products in big market instead of local market. After that she started selling some products in local market with average rate of 600 per piece and most of the products to the big market with average rate of INR 1000 per piece.

Everything was happening very smoothly until COVID-19 impacted the day-to-day life of everyone. The tables turned upside down as soon as the government announced lockdown in the entire country to combat the deadly epidemic. Strangling between fulfilling her family’s basic needs, running her business, and repaying her loan installments, Ms. Soni was left baffled and was clueless what to do next.

Mindful of her rapport established with SATYA EDO, she willfully consulted them and shared her dilemma. After receiving the much-needed support and financial awareness about the RBI’s Loan Moratorium Facility from respective EDO during Awareness Campaign, Ms. Soni decided to avail moratorium facility. Fortunately, COVID 19 didn’t harm any of the family members of Ms. Soni and hence no additional health expenses were incurred by the family. With incomparable support during the unprecedented crisis of COVID-19 and supportive behavior of SATYA ‘s field officer, Ms. Soni was able to manage her business even during and after lockdown. She used to sell bamboos products through door-to-door services.

Post lock down period with financial credibility increased, she again applied for the new loan of INR 50,000 with proper consultation with field officer of SATYA and within a week she got the loan in her account.

Now she and her husband are not only able to produce a quality bamboos product but are also able to access remunerative markets. They make more than 70 pieces of each category and sell it in the big market as the demand has increased with sale turnover more than INR 70000.

She is happy with her family’s improved economic stability. She has also started regular saving habits due to regular guidance from SATYA team during group meetings. With improved economic condition she is sending her daughter to the college and 2 sons to school. Besides, this she has also trained and motivated 10 women like her. All those 10 women are now working independently as a micro entrepreneur.

 

Elucidating her gratitude, Ms. Soni Devi says that “I really want to thank SATYA from bottom of my heart for each and everything they have done and what SATYA is still doing for us”.

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