1 ) Towards DIGITAL-INDIA…

At a time when our country is witnessing a great deal of hustle-bustle revolving around digitalization, Reshma Khatoon, one of NLMPL regular clients, has set up her own digital world. Reshma, a 43 year old resident of Indira Nagar is the owner of a tailoring shop. Her enterprise is the prime source of revenue for her family of two daughters and a son. Reshma had been brought in an era wherein hard work overpowered smart work. Never having been to school, Reshma saw her world changing when her son Rehan, introduced her to a smartphone. Being an illiterate, Reshma had always been hesitant in learning a new skill or learning the nuances of technology. Being NLMPL’s regular client and with the help of NLMPL’s officials, Reshma is now able to operate a smart phone making interest calculations and making payments through net banking. Reshma says, “I feel a sense of empowerment and dependence after having become techno-savvy, even though operating it seemed like a far-off dream. NLMPL apart from providing financial assistance, also stimulates personal development of illiterate women like me.”

Reshma Khatoon takes her third loan from NLMPL planning to further expand her business.

2) Woman’s initiative worth emulating

Women empowerment has always been one of the major commitments of NLMPL. In a historically male-denominated world, a women’s potential is the most underestimated thing in this world. The need of the hour is to recognize their abilities and help them participate and contribute actively in the development of a country. Kunta Devi has set one such example which is worth appreciating.

Kunta Devi is resident of Maulwikheda, a small village in Kakori block of Lucknow district. Maulwikheda is known for its rigorous involvement in dairy and agricultural activities. However, the devastating effects of alcoholism in this area have been a source of additional miseries for the households of Maulwakhedi, particularly affecting woman. According to Kunta, “Alcoholism is a curse for our village. “ Kunta’s husband was an alcohol addict and had spent the entire income on it. Determined to improve the plight of the Maulwikheda inhabitants, Kunta Devi emerged as a game-changer and came forward with a great idea.

Kunta came up with the idea of establishing a poultry farm in the village. She gathered shed, litter, feed, medicine, and all the other details on how to manage a poultry unit. She earlier had some experience on rearing local variety birds in her maternal home and with that experience she decided to start a poultry unit with 300 birds. Due to a dearth of funds, Kunta faced difficulty in expanding and sustaining her business. That’s when she came across one of the NLMPL’s personnel. Kunta, being very hard working, determined and enterprising, NLMPL decided to advance a loan Rs.15,000 to her. This aid served as a stimulus for building and diversifying her poultry business on a larger scale. Being the only poultry business in Maulwikheda, Kunta’s business enjoys the perks of increased local demand. Kunta also looks forward to expand her business which will further enable her to conserve money for her children’s future.

3) Ishrat Jaha, Successful Entrepreneur of Chikankari Work

Ishrat Jaha, a 28 year old entrepreneur has been practicing the art of Chikankari since many years. Initially a resident of Nakaha, her ancestral village, Ishrat recently got shifted to Lucknow to expand her business. Ishrat, being a mother to 2 daughters and 2 sons, actively assumes the role of an entrepreneur and simultaneously copes up with family responsibilities. She has been providing a constant source of income to the family through this acquired skill of Chikankari. In addition to this, Isharat’s husband works in a lock repair and duplicate key-making unit while his brother manages a cosmetic shop.

Despite running a reasonably life sustaining enterprise, Ishrat knew no boundaries and decided to further expand her business. She was in dire need of finances for which she approached NLMPL. NLMPL is always looking forward to extend a helping hand to women who envision contributing to the society and becoming self-reliant. Women are known for being the best administrators and even better financers. Women have been blessed with the innate ability of enlarging and multiplying everything that is given to her, and money is no exception.

After taking a loan worth Rs. 10,000 from NLMPL and with additional investment, Ishrat set out to wend her way for expanding and strengthening her business in Lucknow, given that she was thoroughly supported and encouraged by her family. Ishtar has been reported to receive a monthly income of Rs. 12, 000. She is happy and content with her work and is determined to further expand her business and keep moving forward.

4) Bangle Selling for a sustainable life

Everything in India is governed by traditions, culture, or some may even call it social stigma. Indian married women consider bangles not only as a piece of ornament to adorn their bodies, but bangles also symbolize the sanctity of marriage. Jeenat Praveen never thought she could ever make a living by selling bangles until she decided to run her own bangle business. Since then, Jeenat has been engaged in the door to door bangle selling business.

Ironically and unfortunately, she lost her husband. Consequently, the entire burden of raising a family came on her shoulders. It is then that she decided to make it bigger and open her own bangle shop in town. Owing to a dearth of financial resources, she took a loan of Rs. 10, 000 from NLMPL and set out to establish her bangle shop in Muzaffarpur.

Despite being from a backward Muslim community, Jeenat managed to make her own identity in the society and assumed the role of a leader in her family.

5) A journey from dependence to independence

Bela Devi, after spending fifteen years of her life in a poverty-stricken village Barhai, near Nepal, decided to end her miseries and shift to Lucknow. Twenty –five years ago, Bela and her family came to Lucknow in the hope of earning a living and making their lives better. Coming from a backward society with deep rooted prejudices and social stigmas, Bela got married at an early age. Confined in the manacles of illiteracy, poverty and prejudices, the fact that Bela was bound to become a home maker is pretty self-explanatory.

Life in Lucknow proved no good for the family, contrary to the intentions with which they came to the city. Though, they had a steady source of income initially, the hike in prices took a heavy toll on their lives. Amid all the struggles and miseries to make their lives sustainable, Bela decided to step up and look for employment.

She came across training cum skill centre initiative by NLMPL that invites skilled and unskilled labors to train them in the art of Chikankari and Zardozi. Bela immediately enrolled herself in one of the training programmes to become adept in the making of handicrafts. After attending the 40 days’ workshop, she got employed as one of the workers earning Rs.4000 per month. Bela says, “I am very grateful to NLMPL as it has instilled in me, hopes of getting employed and making a living all by myself. “She feels much more confident and independent now. Besides, she also took a loan worth Rs.10, 000 to educate her son Binay, who is now pursuing engineering. She believes that educating one’s children is a lifelong investment. Bela is of the view that her miseries and hard work will bear fruits when she sees her son getting a job. It will be a moment of sheer bliss for her.

Just like Bela, millions of craftsmen have been earning a living through acquiring the intricacies of Chikankari art. However, this age-old tradition and an ancient art work is on the verge of extinction. Rajni, a companion of Bela says, “The number of Chikankari artists has gone down with the introduction of sewing machines in the market.” Mechanization, although a boon for the mankind, has caused the handicraft industry to severely deteriorate. In an era of technological advancement, the traditional enriched Indian art culture is replaced by machines in the name of modernization. There is a dire need to preserve this sophisticate form of art so that our future generations can embrace it as well.

Need Livelihood Microfinance Private Limited (NLMPL) services follows the Joint Liability Group (JLG) model. This it does without any bias of caste or religion.

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