Shakuntala Devi Expands Her Business

Shakuntala Devi Expands Her Business

At one of the crossroads of Lodipur village in Bihar’s Nalanda district, is a shop run by a 47-year-old Shakuntala Devi. She runs a small grocery store which over the years she has expanded bit by bit. Shakuntala Devi’s life is a testament to how a person can overcome adversity.

She met with an accident in 2018; a tractor ran over her feet after which she could no longer walk. A rod had to be fixed and she could only move around with the help of a walker. She was saddled with medical bills costing Rs 70,000-80,000. It was a very bleak situation and it seemed near impossible for her to move on.

But she did not let any of this dampen her determination and strength. She slowly built her confidence and continued to run her store which she had been running since 2017. She further got an opportunity to expand her business in 2020-2021 when Oxfam India started work in the village.

Shakuntala Devi visited the Village Development Committee (VDC) at Lodipur and convinced the Holistic Rural Development Programme (HRDP) team to support her enterprise. The Oxfam India-HDFC initiative—‘Project Utthan’—contributes towards the socio-economic empowerment of people from marginalised communities by aiding with sustainable livelihood options and improving access to essential services (especially women) across 15 villages in three blocks in Nalanda. Impressed with her resilience, The HRDP team decided to support her.

In March 2021 she received Rs 12000 as financial support through HRDP. The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) provides economic support to eligible and needy women entrepreneurs to revive/scale up their business/trade.

With this grant, she was able to purchase a fridge for her shop and began stocking and selling milk, curd, and soft drinks. These additions helped increase her business and  she got resources to repair the counter of her shop.

Shakuntala’s business is now doing very well. She used to earn Rs 100-200 per day earlier but with the addition of a fridge and some repair to the shop she now earns up to Rs 400-500 a day.

Shakuntala Devi is independent and not only does she looks after herself, she is bringing up her granddaughter and at times supports her son financially as well.“You helped me at a time when all my resources had been used up because of my injury. Your support came to me at a very crucial phase in my life,” she sums up.

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