Dr Medha Purao Samant decided to quit her 12-year-old career in a bank and devote her life to creating the Annapurna Pariwar in order to achieve financial inclusion. A group of six non-profit organisations, this Pariwar (family) helps underprivileged women entrepreneurs by providing micro-finance schemes to their businesses. The organisation recently completed 25 years and organised a Silver Jubilee Annual Rally where more than 8,000 enterprising women from Mumbai and Pune met. Some of them share their stories with us
HOMEMAKER TO GARMENT SHOP OWNER
I would always ask my husband for money. And he was an alcoholic. The condition of my home was degrading by the day. I didn’t want to be dependent on him for my kids’ education and medical expenses. I had learnt tailoring as a youngster and thus started my tailoring business from home. That way, I could take care of my kids and look after my household. But the room where I used to conduct tailoring classes, was small. Annapurna Pariwar provided me with a loan to rent a larger room and buy a few more sewing machines. Today, I have four women working under me. In 2016, I took another loan from to start a small ladies garments shop. Today, I’m totally independent financially.
— Shabnam Shaikh
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS...
I had taken a loan from Annapurna and bought machines to start my lemonade business 20 years ago. My family, including my husband and children are involved in this business. We started it at home. I have two guys working for me for the delivery purpose now. Now we deliver lemonade to various restaurants at Bund Garden Road, Kalyani Nagar as well as to Pune Airport canteen. We began by sending samples and sending them around the city. People soon began talking about it to their friends and relatives. That was how our business grew.
— Noorjaha Salim Shaikh
CAN PROVIDE EMPLOYMENT TO OTHER WOMEN
I have started my small business of cosmetics and housekeeping products like handwash, phenyl etc. We have 30 products in total and have been manufacturing these for 15 years now. We have four people working under now. My husband is involved in the manufacturing and I, along with two other women, pack the products. This is my fourth loan from Annapurna and it is worth Rs 60,000. We supply our products in local grocery stores as well in Mumbai, Karad, and Satara. I would like to say that women who really want to earn, can come to me and start working with me. At least, a family of four can sustain with that money.
— Vasanti Deepak Kumbhar
I have started a mess named Ganesh, with a loan of Rs 7,000 that I’d taken from Annapurna 15 years ago. It is in Warje Malwadi. I have four people working under me. I cook everything, and some women assist me in making rotis. We also have a vegetable shop. Years ago, a student from RMD Engineering College had come to me asking for pure vegetarian food. I offered her food and the next day, surprisingly, she had got many other students from her class, just to have pure vegetarian food which was scarcely available near the college at that time. Slowly, even her professors started coming to eat. Now, I easily have more than 50 customers on a daily basis. I provide the students with the comfort of eating at home. Whichever dish the students ask for, I cook it for them. Two of my daughters also help me in making rotis.
— Vasudha Pattewar