A loan of $925 helped a member to buy more soap, lotion, shaving cream milk powder, tea leaves, hair gel, toothpaste, etc to sell.


Five Amigos Group's story

In 2009, these five tribal women came together and formed a group called “Five Amigos”. Having the same economic background, they strive collectively to help one another to have a meaningful life for themselves. They live in Churachanpur in the state of Manipur, which is located in the northeastern part of India.

The one with her hand raised is Mawii, a member of Five Amigos. She is 35 years old and a mother of two daughters who are 13 and 7 years old. The younger daughter is suffering from Downs Syndrome and goes to a school arranged for such challenged ones. In 2006, her husband died in a road accident, leaving her to live a widow's life. Since then, she had been engaged in retailing businesses supplying organic and fresh vegetables and selling used clothes on the weekend. Though she may have had hard luck, she is happy that both her daughters go to school to learn. With a “special needs” daughter to take care of and the bargaining nature of the market, she could never do well with her vegetable retailing business.

So, with her first loan of INR 5,000, she changed her trade to selling army canteen products door to door. Since the products are sanctioned for the army at subsidized rates, the commission rate is higher. She supplies almost any commodity from toiletry products and appliances to consumables. At the initial stage, it took longer to dispose of the stock but now she is not only disposing of her products more quickly. She usually refills her stock two times a month. When asked about her dreams and wishes, she got shy and said, “May my children flourish even if I suffer. I want for them to have a good life”. Her two happy tears in her eyes said it all about her appreciation and gratitude when asked about her feelings for all the people around the world who lend money to help someone like herself.

She is doing very well with her business but she wants to own a clothing store, which will lessen the time she has to move around and enable her to be there for her daughters. She needs another loan to increase her supplies such as soap, lotion for winter, saving cream supplies for the barber shop, milk powder, tea leaves, hair gel, toothpaste and the like. She supplies these items in large quantities to the down town shops. Beside the shops, she has customers whom she supplies at their home according to their needs. Likewise, the rest of the group members are also working very hard to make the day’s ends meet. Out of five members, four are widows struggling to do their best. The activities of the group members include selling vegetable at the market, selling used clothes and running a tea stall. They requested another loan to grow their business.

In this group: Biaki, Kholzanem, Lianching, Mawii, Khawli
*not pictured



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