Cash Boost For Entrepreneurship

Cash Boost For Entrepreneurship

Madhuri Devi was determined to remain positive despite the financial difficulties her family had been through during the lockdown. Thirty year old Madhuri Devi is a resident of Barah village in Harnaut block in Bihar’s Nalanda district. She belongs to the OBC community. Her husband Mukesh Ram, who drives tractors for a living was the sole breadwinner of the family but he struggled to find consistent work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The family suffered during the pandemic and the lockdowns.

Madhuri, well aware of her situation, wanted to help out the family and contribute to the family income. After consulting with her husband, she began sewing. Her sewing machine was extremely outdated and frequently broke down, and her husband's meagre income wasn't enough to buy a new one. Inspite of the difficulties she was able to make something between Rs 100 and Rs 150 every day.

Her situation improved after the Holistic Rural Development Programme (HRDP) team started work in 2021. The Oxfam India-HDFC effort—‘Project Utthan’—aids with sustainable livelihood opportunities and improves access to essential services (particularly for women) across 15 villages in Nalanda; the project works with the most marginalised communities to become socioeconomically empowered. The HRDP team established Producer Groups (PG) and Village Development Committees (VDC) to ensure accountability and community ownership in the programme.

Madhuri joined the Producer Group as well as the VDC in March 2021; she was keen to be a part of Project Utthan and explore livelihood opportunities. “हमारे लिए भी कुछ कीजिये ताकि हम अपने बच्चे के लिए कुछ कमा सके |” She would often say.

Through HRDP we made conditional cash transfer of Rs 10,000 in November 2021. She took a store on rent at Rs 550 per month and bought a new electric sewing machine. She hasn’t looked back since. Madhuri Devi has now expanded her business and is looking for additional revenue streams. She has a boutique and sells cosmetics in addition to doing tailoring. Her daily earnings have grown to Rs 250–Rs 300.

Having tasted success she has encouraged other women in her village to start business as well. And two women have; following Madhuri’s footsteps they have started their own little enterprise and are securing financial stability.

"The Oxfam India-HDFC Programme has brought happiness to my life. I am indeed very happy that I am able to do something for my family. I have got another chance at a bright future. Now that I am more empowered and have the livelihood skills, it has boosted my self-confidence and self-respect,” says Madhuri on her experience of the HRDP initiative.

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