Women are not only more likely to be the primary caregivers in a family. Increasingly, they are primary breadwinners, too. One such woman, Rama Sardar of katolia village, Domjur, Howrah Dist, along with her husband Buddhadeb Sardar , was living in extreme poverty. She recalled the days when she along with her husband , was living in a small hut (Dorma house). Her husband was a daily labor but his income was not sufficient to earn their livelihood. This time a representative of VFS came to her house with the promise to help her by providing small loans, ideas and proper skill development training through its microfinance initiative . She joined a women’s self help group in her village and took a small loan of Rs. 5000/- in the year 2010 from VFS with a strong desire to stand upright in the society. With this amount she started a job of decorating houses at different festivals by cutting thermocol . Then to extend the business, she took 5th cycles of loan of Rs. 10000/- , Rs.15000/- , Rs.20000 and Rs. 22000/- respectively during the period from 2011 to 2016. Now she is getting order for decorating pandals on many occasions like wedding, puja etc. Now she has built a larger living space (pakka bari) for her growing family. She has also opened a shop in the name of “Pushpa Art Centre”.
Rama and the women in her self help group still have a long way to go. Yet this is a remarkable story of empowerment through collective action. The confidence these women had cultivated over time carries as much currency as their earnings. It inspired them to organize themselves and work hard towards building a better future. Now, Roma expresses her deep gratitude to VFS. In her words it would have never been possible without the support from VFS.