Bainabai began her own chai stall after taking Business School c
Bainabai, who is forty-five years old, overcame an early life of tragedy and challenges to become one of Mhaswad’s most driven and respected micro entrepreneurs.
Married at the age of nine to a heavily drinking man who had never held a steady job, Bainabai faced abuse at the hands of her mother-in-law and endured the harsh treatment of her husband’s family. She finally moved to Bombay with her husband and children at the age of fifteen, but struggled in the city to provide for her children, who were continually sick and unhealthy.
She finally made the decision to return to Mhaswad, and left her husband to begin a new life with her children. Since, she has risen from wage labor work to owning her own chai stall business, leading SHG groups, and using Mann Deshi bank services to enhance her business and livelihood.
Bainabai will say that for the first time in her life, she feels truly happy. The confidence and respectability she has gained, as well as the range of business skills such as understanding interest rates, negotiating financial transactions and marketing SHG groups has added enormously to her life. As a businesswoman who has risen from difficult circumstances, she is a figure of respect in the community, and someone whose advice is often sought by other women interested in microfinance.
She still faces certain struggles; her husband returns from Bombay every six months and demands money and upsets her children. She has also faced difficulty with the municipality and has been forced to relocate her stall several times. Despite it all, she remains optimistic about her future, and is happy to finally be sending her youngest daughter to school with a full lunch box and high quality clothes. Her daughter is in 12th standard, an amazing achievement, and Bainabai has high hopes for her higher education.