Chota & Babulal (husband) are one of many people in the village, Lakhawas, Rajasthan, India who greet strangers with a warm smile and hot cup of tea. Residing on a mound, Chota and her family (in picture) belong to a low caste who used to make earthern pots for living since ages called ‘potters’.
The journey for Chota and her family members has come to a full circle from mainly earning enough to survive to now saving $100 every month and enjoying a fairly good life. Chota has been availing small business loan from Planned Social Concern (PSC), local MFI, for four years now and each year has improved their quality of life. Her family now own fully constructed house, a television, livestocks, and her four children are now going schools.
Her business was earlier dominated by the middle man to market finished products. Commission charged by middleman drastically reduces her profit leaving them hand-to-mouth every time. Since she used to makes her pots manually, finished products were too few to sell them in market by herself. In 2006, PSC provided her loan of $200 to purchase an electric potter’s wheel. With the help of electric potter she increased the numbers of she used to make in a day from 10 to 40. This helped her to increase her inventory to market every month herself. Increased production and no commission to middle man helped her to save some money every month. Later she took another loan of $300 to buy better raw material in bulk. This helped her to increase her product quality and profit margin. Presently, she is using third loan of $350 to further expand her business.
The process of pottery making is multi stepped which Chota and her husband share equally and are a perfect team. Today, Chota is an earning member of the family something she had never imagined when she and her family were suffering. She is a role model for many women of the village and women’s empowerment and self sufficiency are rules she stands by.
PSC is an integral part of their lives as each asset has been an offshoot of the financial help they have received though complete sustainability is a far cry. However without the financial help their life would have been mere subsistence with no change and no growth.