Greetings from Seva Mandir.
Shishvi is a small village located in Girwa block of Udaipur City, Rajasthan. A five minutes’ walk into the village and you will meet a confident woman running a small shop. Nirmala is the first female in the village to run a shop.
As expected the journey was not easy. Before breaking the societal barriers, she had her family to fight to.
“My husband is into maintenance work. We never had enough money and that created trouble and eventually fights.” Nirmala has three kids- two girls and one boy. Her family was not very supportive.
But Nirmala was determined. She started this shop in 2006. It has been 7 years and she has been increasing her business day by day. She had no education and no money when she thought of opening this shop. She just knew stitching clothes but did not have a sewing machine.
Seva Mandir runs a women’s Self-Help Group in Shishvi where women voluntarily contribute whatever amount they can and mutually agree to save it in their common fund from which small loans can be given to any of their members to meet emergent credit needs. This is exactly what Nirmala was looking for. She happily joined the group, discussed her problem and took a loan of Rs. 10,000. She bought a sewing machine and some cloth from it.
Nirmala then started selling ready-made clothes in Shishvi. This grabbed local women’s attention since this was the only shop with ready-made clothes. Initially she used to sell covertly because the ‘heads’ of the village were against it! But Nirmala stood strong and so did other women.
“All the women here supported and encouraged me. They kept coming to my shop and asked me to be strong as I was doing a good work.”
She returned the first loan in around two years. She then took the second loan of Rs 20,000 from Union bank. She bought saris, more clothes and got more profit. She returned the second loan in 20 months.
After this 18 women took loan together of Rs 25,000 from ZilaUdyog Kendra. In between Nirmala kept taking financial help from Seva Mandir’s self-help group.
Currently there are three shops in Shishvi run by women.
Nirmala earns Rs. 1000 per day from which she keeps Rs. 500 and uses Rs. 500 in buying clothes or other commodities for shop. She makes more than Rs. 1000 in festive season. “I earned Rs. 4000 in Rakhi festival” says Nirmala.
When she started earning respectable money, Nirmala’s family also began to accept her running the shop. They became friendly and encouraged her. “My husband supports me in my work now. In fact he attached some equipment to my sewing machine so that it can run on electricity. Earlier I used to run it manually,” says Nirmala showing her possession-sewing machine.
Nirmala adds confidently that there house was a mud house before. She helped her husband financially in turning it into a cement house. She also participates in decision-making as well.
She is now working with Seva Mandir on one of the projects where she will teach local girls stitching and using sewing machine.
Thank you for your help and support in changing the lives of so many women.
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