Sarashwati Kumar

Adding colour - and value - to a boring product

Who doesn’t want a bit of colour in their life? Especially if it doesn’t cost much. Sarashwati Kumar, 36, of Chhattisgarh’s Baraipara village, in Raipur district’s Azad Chowk area, figured this out when she wanted to earn some extra money to support her family of husband and three children.

Her husband was already in the business of selling naphthalene balls that he used to buy in bulk. People use naphthalene balls to keep away insects from clothes stored in cupboards and boxes.

Sarashwati had always wanted to do something to be self-reliant and help her husband support the family. Why not help my husband expand his business? she thought. One easy way would be to colour the naphthalene balls and sell them for a small premium over the usual white ones. So, she approached Village Financial Services for financial aid. As a microfinance institution, VFS lends almost exclusively to women, women who come into a joint lending group.

Sarashwati was a perfect fit. She took the first loan of Rs 25,000 in August 2018. This money was used as a working capital for the business, to buy more naphthalene balls in bulk and the colours they needed. Encouraged by the success (higher turnover) of the business and managing to repay the loan successfully, she took another loan, of Rs 40,000. Now she is in her second loan cycle, and her coloured naphthalene balls can be seen in shops in the Raipur market.

Photo shows the refrigerator they bought with the extra income.

Published on Aug 31, 2020