Wangkheimayum Indira Devi
Tagline: I adorned my life with copper
45 year-old Wangkheimayum Indira Devi lives in Ghari village which is located in Imphal West district in Manipur. She is a member of Ghari Awang Leikai Joint Liability Group (JLG) and is associated with Chanura Microfin Manipur (CMM) since 2010.
Indira Devi had started making jewellery when she was about 13 years old. While working as a trainee under the guidance of her aunt for almost three years, she became a fine jewellery designer. Indira Devi enjoys the process of attaching the tiny metal pieces to stones and giving them the shape of a beautiful necklace.
Her fondness for the work is so much that even after getting married at the age of 25, she continued the jewellery making work and opened a small shop in the front courtyard of her house. Every month she buys the raw material worth Rs. 5, 000 from the nearby wholesale market and earns Rs. 14, 000 every month. Initially, the availability of capital was the major constraint for her business and because of this, she used to buy a very small quantities of raw material. Her monthly earnings were a meager Rs. 4,000-5,000.
She was mostly dependent on moneylenders who used to charge interest at the rate of 5% monthly Such high interest rates eventually led to a financial crisis. At this juncture, she came to know about Chanura Microfin Manipur (CMM) and got associated with it in the year 2010. She took her first loan of Rs. 5, 000 and started buying the bulk amount of raw materials according to the market demand. This gradually led to an improvement in her financial condition. Since she has been in the jewellery making market for many years, she has been able to develop a strong network of suppliers as well as built linkages with customers. She employs 2-3 support staff for designing the jewellery during the peak season to ensure timely delivery of the work orders.
Indira Devi is well aware of the strengths of the items she produces. She says, “The colour of my product is far better than the other jewellery makers. I use more adhesive than them which provides longer life to my jewellery. I have also trained 3 - 4 people who are now independently working as jewellery makers and earn well. I am happy that my knowledge has helped to generate a livelihood for others too”.
Chanura Microfin Manipur (CMM) wanted to enhance the knowledge base of their women entrepreneur members. Thus, with the support of Friends of Women World Banking (FWWB), Ahmedabad, training on Financial Education and Business Management Skill was provided to the women members. Indira Devi also attended the training in the month of January 2017. She says, “After attending the FWWB training, I have opened my bank account and started saving money. I have taken life insurance too and I think this kind of training should be given at regular intervals so that we can imbibe the facts very well.”
While wrapping a beautiful necklace around her daughter’s neck she shared that “I aspire to own a jewellery shop and want to become a trader for jewellery items. This is so because after getting older I won’t able to see properly so I won’t be able to design the best quality jewellery. But I still want to continue being connected with the jewellery market and this shop will help me remain associated with it. I am excited to learn about managing my business better.”