A loan of $925 helped a member to pay for purchasing of more stock of leaves and bamboo twigs.

Jalakanya Group's story

In the year 2010, Puspanjali, of Bissam Cuttack village in the Rayagaga district in Odisha, formed a group with three other women of her locality named “Jalakanya” with the intervention of Mahashakti Foundation. The lady standing at the extreme right raising her hand in the photo is Puspanjali.

She is a 38-year-old single woman living with her son, age 7 years. She belongs to a Below Poverty Line family (BPL), a segment living on less than a dollar a day.

Puspanjali started her leaf plate business four years ago on a small scale and has been working hard to grow her business. She makes plates woven out of dry leaves at her house and local traders in the village come and collect them every week. She makes 1,000 to 1,500 plates each week. 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 gets her supply of leaves and bamboo twigs used for stitching from local sellers in the market and sun-dries them for two days to make them ready to be stitched.

Currently, the stock she buys from the local sellers is enough for her to make plates for one day and sell the next day. She wants to have enough stock to support her business during the monsoon as well when she cannot get dry leaves. The present loan will be used by her to buy more stock of leaves and bamboo twigs.

Puspanjali dreams of building a small concrete house for her family and giving proper education to her son. Puspanjali says, “By successful management of my loans, I have gained more confidence in myself, and I hope that I can do even better to support my family in future.”

The other three members of the group, Banalata, Ramadebi and Sandhya are running a leaf plate making and selling business, a tea stall and a vegetable vending business, respectively.

In this group: Sandhya, Puspanjali, Banalata, Ramadebi
*not pictured

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