Tagline: Story of the sole breadwinner
Life is all about believing that good things will come your way. It is about keeping up the fighting spirit and facing all odds valiantly. Dwarka Bai, a Manihari (a community that traditionally sells bangle and other jewellery items), is one such fighter hailing from Rajasthan.
Dwarka Bai is an imitation jewellery manufacturer and seller. She has primary level education and is in this business for the last 25 years. She lives in a small village called Ajetapurana, in Bundi district, Rajasthan. She is the only breadwinner of the family.
After losing hope from her husband to earn a living for the family, she took charge of her house and thought of starting to work on her own. For this, she took a loan from the Self Help Group formed by SRIJAN and bought raw materials from Delhi. Dwarka Bai took initiative started selling the jewellery in the local village. Gradually she learned from her experiences and came to know about different demands from the customers about a variety of things required in the household. She observed that people had to go to a different village to buy all those things. Hence, grabbing the opportunity, she bought the items which are frequently in demand and established herself in the manihari business. She maintains the business accounts on her own but faced problems with the availability of time to maintain it regularly. She shared that, “Doing business is a challenge for a woman.” She had also contributed a big amount of money in building their family house and without family’s support; it was very difficult to proceed further.
While talking about the advantage of becoming entrepreneur she says “Because of my business, I don’t have to spread hands in front of others for money.” Even though her income was low, she managed to feed her family. Although she earned a good income, her profit was utilized for the household expenses and she was unable to save money.
Dwarka Bai participated in the Financial Education, Business Management Skill and Effective Governance training conducted by FWWB at Bundi. She learned during the training, that most of her money was used in transportation which had to be reduced. The only possible solution that came to her mind was to buy a second-hand car/van. Dwarka feels that due to lack of transportation services and frequent travelling which costs her more, she is not able to do her business in a cost-efficient manner. And buying a car would help her to travel to different villages easily. Moreover, she could also have a shop set up in her car itself, which would save her time to find a place and also let her manage her products easily. But she was not willing to a take a huge amount of loan due to the fear of a debt trap.
She raised a question about the same during the training as well. Dwarka asked, “How will I manage to pay the money every month, what if I missed one or two installments?” This is a common question that runs in everyone’s mind on losing an asset while trying to create another asset. From the discussion on pre and post borrowing, she learned that it was possible for her to take a loan but to pay the loan she had to increase her income sources as well.
After the training, she decided to diversify her business. She plans to start a soap making business enterprise along with other SHG group members. She has already learned the procedure and can teach the group members. Dwarka Bai says that she requires SRIJAN’s support for building network and linkages. She will be speaking to her group members for the same and will start the enterprise and sell the products in the nearby villages in the initial phase. And later with the help of SRIJAN, the group can expand the business.
Dwarka Bai is the face of many women that we see, the only bread winners of the family. Not only has she managed the family but also started her business and now aims to help the society at a large by starting a group enterprise in her village.