A loan of $1,000 helped a member to pay for purchasing bamboo.

Saraswati Group's story

In the year 2010, five poor, illiterate rural women of Mahulpada village in Titilagarh Block in the Bolangir district of Odisha, India, formed a Joint Liability Group named Saraswati with an objective to support their family businesses by taking loans from Mahashakti Foundation for the over all development of their families.

Kuntala, about 37 years old, is one among the members who is sitting second from the right with a raised hand. Kuntala is married and resides in a small hut with her five-member family comprising her husband, two sons and one daughter.

All members of Saraswati group belong to very poor backgrounds. The community of Kuntala especially has a separate establishment in the village. The main source of livelihood of this community is weaving of bamboo baskets of various varieties and selling them in the market. The people of this community are far away from basic needs like education, shelter, health facilities, etc. due to poverty and rural base.

The business of Kuntala (weaving of bamboo baskets) is a traditional business of their community. Previously, the inhabitants of this community themselves collected raw bamboo from the nearest forest for weaving of baskets. But due to forest degradation, now they have to travel far away for purchasing of raw bamboo. Kuntala and her husband combine to do the processing work and weaving of baskets like kula, tupa, kurli, bhuga, kulei, garna, talei, parla, etc. of different sizes. During marriage season there are heavy demands for these products. They sell the products weekly in the nearest weekly market of the town. Some traders also regularly come to this village to purchase bamboo products. Kuntala earns a monthly profit of INR 2,000 from her business.

Currently, there is a growing demand for this products and traders are used to supplying this to various parts of the country. So Kuntala wants to purchase more raw bamboo from this loan to work for a longer period without any interruption. She also wants to procure some ready-made products from other weavers. This will help her to earn some extra income to manage the family smoothly. Kuntala hopes to construct a house in the near future.

The other four members of the group are Nalini, Bui, Sukrabari and Padma who are doing similar businesses.

In this group: Kuntala, Padma, Bui, Nalini, Sukrabari

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