A loan of $1,200 helped a member to buy more stock of raw materials like leaves and bamboo twigs for her leaf plate business.

Gruhalaxmi Group's story

In the year 2010 a group of five active women of Muniguda village of Rayagada district in Odisha, India came out with a new objective to contribute to their family income and formed a group named Gruhalaxmi (the name of a Hindu goddess who is believed to bring wealth to the family). Sanjulata is one of them. The lady to the extreme right raising her hand in the photo is Sanjulata.

She is 42 years old, living with her husband and one son aged 24. Her husband is a carpenter. He makes wooden furniture and sells to a local furniture shop. Her son also helps in this business. She started a leaf plate business to supplement her husband’s income with the help of a loan from Mahashakti Foundation. She makes plates woven out of dry leaves at her house, stitching them together with the help of bamboo twigs. 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. She earns Rs.1,500/- to Rs. 2,000/- per month from this business. Sanjulata was able to get her daughter married into a good family out of the family income. This gave her encouragement and confidence.

She is planning to make leaf plates on a larger scale and sell to the local shops in her village. A portion of the loan will be utilized by her to buy more stock of raw materials like leaves and bamboo twigs for her leaf plate business. She also wants to contribute to her husband’s business and plans to invest some in purchasing raw materials like plywood, gum and machines, etc. for the carpentry business. This will give enough work for her husband and son, simultaneously increasing the revenue from her business as well as her husband’s business.

Sanjulata would like to open a furniture shop in the market of Muniguda town and construct a toilet in her house for better sanitation. She also wants to save enough this year to find a suitable girl for her son to get him married.

In this group: Hemalata, Narmada, Sanjulata, Radha, Anami

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