A loan of $750 helped a member to buy more stock of leaves for her leaf plate business and buy a buffalo to start her milk business.

Ganga Group's story

This group is called Ganga. It was formed in the year 2010. Its four members are all women from the town called Muniguda. It is located in the district of Rayagada, one of the poorest districts in India.

One of the members of this group is Laxmi. The lady sitting second from left raising her hand in the photo is Laxmi. She is the Group Leader. She is 26 years old, living with her husband, her daughter aged 7 and her son aged 3. She has been involved in the leaf plate business for the last 15 years. She makes plates woven out of dry leaves at her house and local traders in the village come and collect them every week. She makes 1000-1500 plates in a week. These plates are biodegradable, disposable, hygienic, and an inexpensive alternative to modern paper or plastic utensils. These are widely used by local food stalls and hotels to serve food.

Laxmi gets the supply of the leaves and bamboo twigs used for stitching from the local sellers in the market and sun-dries them for two days to make them ready to be stitched. Presently, the stock she buys from the local sellers is enough for her to make leaves for one day and sell the next day. She wants to have enough stock to support her business during the monsoon as well when she cannot get dry leaves. A portion of the loan will be utilized by her to buy more stock of leaves and bamboo twigs.

Laxmi also wants to buy a buffalo for milking and sell the milk to local hotels and tea stalls. She believes her established contacts with hotels and food stalls through her existing business will make it easier for her to sell the milk. This additional income will supplement her income during bad weather times where it might be difficult to dry leaves. Laxmi dreams of building a small concrete house for her family and giving a proper education to her children.

The other three members of her group are Bhagya, Tulasa and Amika; they are also doing the same business as Laxmi. Since the formation of Ganga, all members of the group have been working hard and continue to work with unity, honesty and sincerity under the leadership of Laxmi.

In this group: Laxmi, Bhagya, Tulasa, Amika

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