Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

Profile of a successful self-help group woman entrepreneur in Kakdwip

Posted by Chris on October 12, 2007

she was trained in tailoring and now runs her own shop

Unfortunately, I don’t know this lady’s name—I asked after we left and the person from IITD did not know at the time either. Her son is Teetu, if that’s how it’s spelled (pronounced Tee-Two). So I’ll call her Taylor.

Many Self Help Group (SHG) models include internal loaning. The members each save a certain amount per month into a collective savings account. On their own, they cannot save enough to be attractive to a bank, but if 10 each save Rs 30, Rs 300/month is a significant sum. Then, from these savings, the members can borrow with the approval of the other members. These loans can be for any purpose that is approved but in general the idea is that the loans are for income generation or an emergency of some type. They are usually taken for a small interest rate per month, such as 2%.

Taylor received tailoring training from IITD and then used a combination of her personal savings and an internal loan to purchase this sewing machine secondhand for Rs. 2000. She wants to buy a new one that can perform additional functions but it costs Rs 5000.

In her village, which was not too far from the town/market but quite remote if you consider road condition, she is not the only tailor. However, she is the only female tailor and women prefer to come to her business. She repairs clothing, makes new clothes by order, and sews sleeves. Indian blouses often come with the sleeves pinned so that the customer can decide whether or not she wants to wear sleeveless.

Taylor earns Rs 10 for attaching sleeves and 70-120 for an entire blouse. The small blouses that are worn under sarees net her Rs 50-60. She also sometimes gets orders from a wholesaler and receives Rs 30-40 for 12 pieces of clothing.

She is seven months pregnant right now but this enterprise allows her to work 4-5 hours a day in addition to taking care of the household, a must for an Indian wife. Before, her time would have only been spend on housework. She told us that she enjoys stitching and has taken pride in learning and having ownership of her business.


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