Sahanara Sardar

Her savings habit helped her survive lockdown blow

Sahanara Sardar is thanking her savings habit for surviving the lockdown hit on her readymade garments business: She managed to clear her repayments.

Sahanara, who has been a customer of Village Financial Services for 16 years, has applied for a fresh loan after having just paid of the earlier one. This was a personal loan of Rs 200,000.

She has developed a financial discipline of her own, helped by the coaching in money matters from VFS, which takes its mandate in microfinance seriously.

But it was touch-and-go. Sahanara, 45, and her husband Rafik Sardar make garments for men, women and children, and sell in bulk at a nearby wholesale market – which was shut for months during the COVID-19 lockdown that began in March-end.

They survived on their savings. While the markets have opened, business has not yet gone back to the pre-coronavirus levels.

Sahanara lives in Telipara village of Bankra in Howrah district with her husband and two school-going sons and a daughter. (She got two older daughters married off.)

She is one of those enterprising borrowers of VFS who have been able to scale up their business many times. In fact, she moved up from “group loans” to a personal loan.

She took her first loan, of Rs 8,000, from VFS in 2004. As her business did well, VFS recognised her entrepreneurial abilities and decided to upgrade her to Sambriddhi, its loan product for small- and medium-enterprises.

After paying for raw materials (Rs 90,000) and labour Rs 56,000) she manages to have an average monthly profit of about Rs 50,000.

Updated on Sep 2, 2020