Durga Rani Das

Never too old to take a microloan and move up

Durga Rani Das, 48, of Assam’s Bongaigaon district, had started helping her husband Chiranjeet with his business of weaving bamboo baskets after they got married. As a young girl, she had learnt some bamboo crafts.

As her family grew – one daughter followed by two sons – their income was stretched. Durga Rani realised that the bamboo-basket business could be scaled up. Or maybe she should open a shop for her son. That is when she heard about microfinance and Village
Financial Services from fellow villagers. Banks do not lend to people like her since they have no collateral to offer against a loan.

In 2017, Durga Rani borrowed Rs 25,000 from VFS. She opened a shop selling handloom garments and also put some money in their bamboo basket business. The garments shop is in the nearby Boro Bazar. They sell their bamboo baskets to big traders in the same market or the Handlooms Emporium.

Her daughter, 25, is now married and her younger son, 23, helps his parents in their businesses.

Currently, Durga Rani is in her third loan cycle, having borrowed Rs 30,000.

The lockdown brought their businesses to a standstill, but Durga Rani managed to sell some bamboo baskets and household items to general provisions or stationery stores, which could remain open during the lockdown. Some bamboo items are used in religious rituals.

Durga Rani Das believed in her skill—and herself. And VFS was there with the fuel to power her dreams.

“It was really great to have Village by my side,” Durga Rani says.

Updated on Sep 2, 2020