A loan of $1,375 helped a member to pay for purchasing bamboo and coloring.

Maa Mangala Group's story

In the Balangir district of Odisha, India, Baijayanti Pada is one of the slum areas of Balangir Municipality which hails from Ward No.12. There is a special identity of this slum area which is that it is inhabited by the Mahar community (Weavers of Bamboo). Most of the inhabitants of this community are very poor and far away from the basic necessities of life like shelter and education. They reside in small huts and their children get rarely get good education.

The main business of this community is making hand fans of bamboo and selling them in the market, railway station and bus stop and in nearby villages.The income they get from their business is spent hand to mouth for them. To overcome this situation, in the year 2010 six women of this community formed a Joint Liability Group named Maa Mangala with the objective of accessing a loan from Mahashakti Foundation for the overall development of their family, to improve their existing businesses. Archana, aged about 35, is the featured member, sitting on the extreme left with raised hand. She is married and resides in a small hut with her four-member family, comprised of her husband and two daughters aged 8 & 4.

The business of Archana (making of bamboo hand fans) is a traditional business of their community. Archana and her husband jointly do the processing work and make hand fans. To procure raw materials, they have to go 100 kilometer away by train and bring back the raw bamboo. Both the wife and husband sell their products in the town market, railway station & bus station. They also supply their products to traders.

Archana earns a monthly income of Rs.3000 from her business. This small income never meets the minimum needs of the family. So Archana wants to raise her production for more income. From the present loan she is planning to purchase more raw bamboo to last for a long time without any interruptions. She hopes this will help her to increase her income. Archana dreams of revamping her existing hut and constructing a house for her family.

The other five members of the group are Pakani, Nandi, Santi, Dali and Radhika who also do the same business.

In this group: Archana, Pakani, Radhika, Santi, Nandi, Dali

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