Chingangbam Bilashini Devi
Tagline: Weaving her path to empowerment
56 year-old Chingangbam Bilashini Devi is a resident of Wangkhei village in Manipur, which is known for hand- woven clothes. Bilashini Devi got married in the year 1980 and just after five years of her marriage, her husband met with an accident. Since then, Bilashini Devi became the sole earner of her family.
Initially, she used to weave the clothes by herself. Since she had never got any formal training in weaving, she couldn’t produce high quality garments, and charged lower rates for her work. This income was not sufficient for her survival so she then worked as a saleswoman at someone else’s shop. She started earning a monthly income of Rs. 4, 000 but was unable to save anything for her future plans, which revolved around giving a better education to her children.
Bilashini heard about Chanura Microfin Manipur (CMM) from one of her friends who had also been a member of the organization since many years and was living a prosperous life. She became member of Wangkhei Wangkheimayum Leirak Join Liability Group (JLG). She has been associated with CMM for 8 years now. She took her first loan of Rs 5, 000 and bought ready-made woven sarees and began selling them, with which she managed to earn Rs. 15,000 every month. She shared, “If these of clothes would not have been there, I would have died long ago”. The financial support from CMM has given her a ray hope for a better life. She bought an almirah (cupboard) from the profits earned, to stock the sarees purchased in bulk.
Chanura Microfin Manipur focuses on enhancing the knowledge base of its women members and hence, in association with Friends of Women’s World Banking (FWWB), training was given to its borrowers on Financial Education and Business Management Skill in the year 2016. Bilashini Devi also attended the first phase of training. She says, “I liked the video shown during the training which depicts that loans should always be taken for productive purposes. I learned that saving is very important and because of my saving habit I was able to buy the almirah (cupboard) for keeping the stocks. The Red, Yellow, Green exercise (Think before you spend exercise) was very beneficial for me. After attending the training I understood the importance of bookkeeping and now I record each and every transaction. I budget my monthly income and never mix my household saving with business savings.”
She added, “I never thought that my socio-economic condition would ever get better. I had lost all hope. Financial support from Chanura showed me the other side of life. Now we are counted among the reputed and prosperous families of Wangkhei. If Chanura has acted as a lamp for my life then training of FWWB has acted as the oil for that lamp. Now everyone in my neighbourhood thinks that I am a successful trader.”