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


Maa Samlei 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. A special identity of this slum area 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 rarely get good education.

The main business of this community is making hand fans out of bamboo and selling them in the market, railway station and bus stations and nearby villages. The income they get from this is used 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 Samlei with the positive intention of accessing a loan from Mahashakti Foundation for the all round development of their family, to improve the existing situation.

Lata, a vocal and active lady aged about 36 is the leader and also the featured member. She is sitting on the extreme right in the photograph with raised hand. She is married and lives with her husband, one daughter of 13, a son of 11, and 9-year-old twins.

Lata is operating a traditional business of bamboo hand fan making and marketing. Lata and her husband jointly do the processing work and make hand fans. They procure the raw bamboo from a distance of 100 kms. Her husband goes by train to bring back the material. Both the wife and husband sell the finished products in the town market, railway & bus station. Apart from the making of hand fans, Lata also procures finished products from the neighbors and sells them in bulk to traders from other places.

Lata earns a monthly income of 5000 INR from this business. According to Lata, this small income is not at all sufficient to meet the requirements of her family. So she wants to raise her production for more income. From the present loan she is planning to purchase more raw bamboo to last for a longer period and also purchase finished products to supply. Lata hopes to construct a house and provide better education to her children and lead a prestigious life.

The other five members of the group are Suchi, Kalyani, Surya, Gouri and Ritu who also operate the same business of hand fan making and selling.

In this group: Lata, Suchi, Kalyani, Surya, Gouri, Ritu



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