Sandhya Bose

Savings from VFS-backed business helped in lockdown

For Sandhya Bose, 45, the coronavirus lockdown was the second economic crisis in her life. When her husband, a worker in a steel-almirah factory, died of a heart attack 15 years ago she was left with three young sons and had to look for a way to earn. One of her neighbours in Belgachia in West Bengal’s Howrah district used to stitch hosiery items from cut-pieces supplied by manufacturers.

Sandhya approached the Baltikuri branch of Village Financial Services and got a microfinance loan of Rs 3,000 with which she bought a machine and hired two workers. Now, she has been a successful borrower for 15 years, and her last loan, of Rs 50,000, was disbursed in September 2018.

This year, the lockdown brought her business to a standstill, but she survived on her savings. Also, her sons are now in their twenties. The youngest, 20, supplies bottled water. The eldest, 23, is in the business of installing false ceilings, and the second son, 21, has been her business partner.

As her business did well, she was able to build a two-storey house. She bought more machines and hired another four workers and the ground floor is now her factory.

She says the financial support of VFS has ensured them a respectable position in society and allows them to dream and work towards a better future.

Many hosiery brands in West Bengal live on job work – getting the fabric knitted, bleached, cut and then stitched. With the hosiery business picking up, Sandhya says she is looking forward to a bigger loan.

The video was shot before the pandemic.

Updated on Sep 2, 2020