“Ours is a family business of making potato chips. We sell our products to the shops and bakeries across Bangalore. Previously it used to take a lot of time and effort to cut the wafers manually. With a revolving fund from the SHG of Rs. 40,000 we bought a potato cutting machine. This has increased our production capacity. Now it takes less effort in making chips and we are able to increase our earning to Rs. 15,000 per month.”
“I used to sell only agarbatti sticks to the contractor who used to supply the raw material to me and pay me according to the number of sticks. With a revolving fund from the SHG of Rs. 14,000 I bought my own raw material, including scents and now I sell it back to the shops for a higher rate. I now earn Rs. 4,000 per month.”
“I used to work as domestic help and earn around Rs. 3,500 per month. I like to buy beads and make my own chains. My friends and neighbours liked them and I started selling it to them. This set me thinking, I quit my job and with a with a revolving fund from the SHG of Rs. 12,000 I started making and selling chains in my neighbourhood and the surrounding area. I now earn around Rs. 8,000 per month.”
“I was a homemaker and I had a lot of time to spare after my household work, so I started doing some stone works on my own sarees to keep me engaged. People noticed my works and asked me to do this for them as well. With a revolving fund from the SHG of Rs. 25,000 I purchased materials and started doing as a business now.”
“I wanted women in my SHG to start this food business with me but all of them were apprehensive about it and withdrew from the idea I set up this business on my own and I make a good profit. Seeing my improvement other women in my SHG group is now motivated to start different business.”
“Making various woollen products for a hobby did not fetch me any income. But now I have turned my hobby into a business which helps me support various needs in my family, keeps me occupied and I enjoy my work I love to see people appreciate my talent and creativity.”
“I always wanted to start a business. I bought over a chicken shop near my house with a revolving fund from the SHG of Rs. 23,000. I upgraded my shop. Now I also sell chicken kebabs in the morning which has increased my income.”
“I used to work as a domestic worker and earn around Rs. 1,500 per month. After training on livelihoods by headstreams I quit my job, bought a grinder and started selling idlies in my locality. Now I earn Rs. 3,000 comfortably selling idlies.”
SHG : Bhuvaneshwari
Narayanama’s life is a remarkable journey of hope. She comes from a very poor family in Andhra Pradesh. As she herself says “there was a time when my family barely got to eat one square meal and day and we had to struggle so hard to get even one meal a day.” Her mother was a domestic worker while her father was a stone cutter. A few years ago the family shifted to Bangalore in search of livelihood at the suggestion of a relative. Life was not easy from the beginning, but the family was able to make ends meet when her mother worked as a domestic help and her father found the job of a sweeper at a factory.
Narayanama is married and has 3 children – 2 girls and a boy. Her husband earned his living by driving a rented auto. Narayanamma joined an SHG and attended the Entrepreneurship Awareness and Development trainings organised by headstreams. It was at this time that a tent house in the vicinity of her house shut down. Narayanama was able to get livelihood support through revolving fund from the SHG. She stepped in and along with her husband started off the tent house business. During festivals and weddings seasons she earns a profit of Rs.15,000 per day.
For Narayanamma, in many ways it is truly remarkable to see where she stands. From struggling for one square meal a day, today she has become instrumental in the development of her entire family. She looks forward to make better use of her time and is trying to explore livelihood possibilities together with other members of the SHG. She invests the profits from the business in a recurring deposit scheme for her children’s education and in a social security scheme (NPS). She says that being a part of an SHG has added quality to her life – “the SHG gave me the courage to step out of my own small world and see what it is like outside. I did not have the boldness to meet people, speak to them and socialise. Today I am not what I used to be. I know how to manage the business and interact with the customers on my own.”
Bhavani is among those who has the potential to bank on an opportunity when it comes their way. The thought of business never really crossed her mind when she used to buy artificial jewellery from her hometown in Tamil Nadu for her family members. Bhavani attended the Entrepreneurship Awareness and Development trainings organised by headstreams, after which she availed of the revolving fund from the SHG. With the revolving fund from the SHG received she turned her personal experience into a business opportunity. She bought jewellery from her hometown and sold it at a good margin in her neighbourhood. She also used some of the jewellery for renting it out during social events. She says, “my business is organised today because the EAP/EDP trainings helped me build on my experience and start my own business. I was able to understand (analyse) my customers and to see what fashion (trends) were, to calculate my travel expenses, to keep track of my profit margins and to be careful of the quality I offered my customers.”
Bhavani has availed of livelihood support twice and has been able to expand her customers gradually. All this is in addition to her role as a home-maker as well as a domestic worker.
Ratnamma’s life is one of opportunities that seemed to have made way at the right time. It was way back during her school days that Ratnamma took up tailoring training as a part of her school curriculum and developed a flair for it. Her skill has brought her a long way. Though she was very young, she was so skilled in tailoring that one of her teachers suggested her name as a trainer to a group that was training people in tailoring. After her marriage she shifted to Bangalore and took up tailoring to earn as well as to make good use of time. Over the years she has honed her skills in various aspects of training. It is her skill and her ability as a trainer that led eight women from the SHG (facilitated by headstreams) where she is member to ask her to train them. Today each of them have their own home-based tailoring units. Currently she has discontinued tailoring for the time being because of health issues, but her trainees still continue to seek her guidance in their work.
Padma’s story is one of extreme resilience and courage. She dropped out of school early and was married to a painter. Padma found it difficult to make ends meet with her husband’s fluctuating income and with him being an alcoholic. She knew that she will have to start working somewhere to make ends meet. Padma began by going out to cook in households nearby and came across somebody who asked her to help them with cooking and supplying to a company-run canteen. Padma single-handedly managed the show for them till the time that they shut shop. But that short-term experience gave her the idea of doing something similar herself and Padma began supplying food to some of the companies close to her home. In fact she expanded her business by opening a food out let. Unfortunately Padma handed over the finances to her husband and soon saw the business running into a loss to the extent that she had to shut shop. But her household cooking job saw the family through the crisis.
Padma’s resilience is seen from the fact that she did not give up. Being a part of an SHG facilitated by headstreams, Padma attended the livelihood trainings conducted by headstreams. She resolved to start over again, and applied for revolving fund through the SHG.With a revolving fund from the SHG she received, she started all over again. Today she single-handedly (with no help whatsoever) does her cooking job in three households in the morning, returns to do her household chores, prepares evening snacks (such as idli, dosa, poori, kesar bath, etc.) for 100 or more people every evening and supplies it herself (very often walking) to the company.
It takes strength and courage to even dream of rebuilding a shattered dream all over again. Padma’s calm countenance belies the storms that she has weathered in life ever so often. Hers is a story of a woman whose courage and resilience is an inspiration for many.
Krishnaveni was born and brought in Bangalore city. She was educated in a Tamil medium school till her seventh standard. Krishnaveni was forced to discontinue her studies because of lack of access to Tamil medium schools at the high school level. She took up a basic training in ayurvedic medicines at Ulsoor for a period of 3 years. Initially she did a job that paid her Rs. 1500. But when she got married she explored the idea of starting her own business because her husband had also taken up the same training as she did. She started the business with the involvement of her husband. Krishnaveni attended the Entrepreneurship Awareness and Development trainings organised by headstreams. She availed of the revolving fund from the SHG to improve her business. She has now expanded her business and taking advantage of an available business opportunity, she also deals with materials needed for religious functions. She says, “my profits have gone up by one-third after I expanded my business, I invests the additional profits in a Post Office savings account.”
There is something very interesting about Krishanveni’s livelihood activity. Ever since she took the ayurvedic training she has been meticulously writing down every medicine and its utility and every other relevant detail in the book. Even today when she has questions and doubts her books comes in as a handy reference. She says, “tomorrow even if I am not there all the information and knowledge that I have gathered through all these years can be used by somebody else. It will not go away with me.” The fact that Krishnaveni opens her shop at 10.00 am in the morning and goes back home only at 9.00 pm, choosing to even have lunch at the shop itself speaks of her hard work.
Vijayalakshmi comes from a family comprising of seven children (four girls and three boys). She moved to Bangalore after her marriage. Vijayalaxmi’s husband worked as a steward in a hotel and gave up his job to take up centring work. The uncertain nature of his job and his alcoholic ways means that he contributes minimally for the family’s expenses. To meet the expenses and to ensure that their two children continue their education, Vijayalakshmi has taken up tailoring business. Vijayalakshmi attended the Entrepreneurship trainings facilitated by headstreams. She availed of the revolving fund from the SHG to buy a tailoring machine. She says, “the training helped me to identify where I should improve in my business. I prepared a plan to expand my business and bought a zig zag machine. My customers have also increased and also my profit. Inspite of all difficulties, I am doing well in the tailoring business and my regular customers have also increased.”
Kameshwari comes from Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. Kameshwari took up a two years tailoring course more out of a hobby. Today that very same hobby has transformed into a growing business. After her marriage she shifted to Bangalore together with her husband. The migration factor coupled with the birth of their daughter made it impossible for her to go out and start a career of her own. But that was no deterrent to her enterprising spirit.
The neighbourhood she resides in has a large migrant population from Andhra Pradesh. During her interaction with the neighbours Kameshwari noticed that some varieties of work sarees which were popular in Andhra Pradesh were not available in Bangalore for which there was a good market. She started on a very small scale by stitching blouses and doing embroidery and stone work on the blouses. Kameshwari lacked the confidence to enlarge her business. As she said, “the EAP/EDP trainings (Entrepreneurship trainings facilitated by headstreams) opened my mind to various business opportunities. They helped me understand the pros & cons of different business opportunities. It gave me a lot of clarity and I felt a lot more confident to expand my business. Today I want to do a beautician course so that I can start a parallel business and I am confident that I will be able to balance both. My customers will get both services under the same roof and it will also increase the number of my customers.”
Today Kameshwari has expanded her business to include tailoring, printing on sarees, embroidery and other artistic work on sarees. Her hobby has given her a livelihood opportunity to work from the confines of her home itself. Today she is her own boss and caters to an average of 60 to 70 customers regularly. She has now become well acquainted with the market, availability of raw material and the nitty-gritties of the business and invests her profits in chit funds.
Jayalakshmi completed her studies in Telugu medium from her hometown. Her husband is in the centering business. She has three children studying in middle school. Though Jayalakshmi is educated, her family commitments coupled with the language barrier made it difficult for her to find a suitable job in Bangalore. Jayalakshmi got trained in tailoring by her elder sister and has experience in embroidery and in stitching children’s garments.
Jayalakshmi attended the Entrepreneurship Awareness and Development trainings organised by headstreams. She availed of the revolving fund from the SHG to buy a zig-zag machine which helped her increase her range of services. She has nearly 25 regular customers and her monthly profit margin is approximately Rs. 5000.
Speaking of the SHG and the benefits of being a part of the SHG, Jayalakshmi says “in addition to training and getting revolving fund for my business, being a part of the SHG has made me very independent. I don’t have to depend on my husband for every small financial need. When I want to make a decision I can make it independently and I need not be dependent on his liking and approval always. For me it has been a wonderful opportunity to get out of the four walls of my house, socialise and meet people. At the same time I get an exposure to different views, views of other people and it helps me broaden my thinking.”
SHG: Shakti Mahila
Dakshayani comes from a family consisting of her parents and seven siblings. She was married at the age of fourteen. After her marriage, she was able to study upto pre-university. Family commitments did not permit her to continue her studies further, despite wanting to do so. She completed a one-year tailoring course, after which she opened a small tailoring shop by paying an advance of Rs. 5000 and a monthly rent of Rs. 500. A few years later, she opened a bigger shop along with her family friend.
Dakshayini has been a member of Shakti Mahila SHG (facilitated by headstreams). She attended the trainings on Entrepreneurship Awareness and Development and Financial Literacy conducted by headstreams. The analysis of her business and profits helped Dakshayini realise where she was losing money in the business. She had to outsource several processes since she did not have all the equipment. She took a revolving fund from the SHG and invested it in improving her business. The investment helped her to complete the entire process herself and increased her profit margin. Today, she has close to 100 regular customers and her profits are approximately Rs.10000 a month.
Dakshayini says, ‘Despite being engaged in business for a long time, I never paid attention to systematic calculations or thought of further investments in my business. But the trainings, especially the financial literacy training, helped me to put several things in order and brought a sense of discipline to my business.’ Dakshayani also says that being a part of the SHG has helped her grow personally and given her courage and support to develop and to grow.