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Sydney NSW 2001 , Level 4, 220 George Street Sydney NSW 2000

Telephone: 1800 812 164

© 2017 Opportunity International AustraliaABN 83 003 805 043

Stories Mary Antony

“My name is Mary Antony. I’m 43 years old. Sometimes when I was pregnant with my daughter, I didn’t eat. I couldn’t – my husband, who is a painter, had no work. We struggled to survive. We had nothing.”

Village: Thrissur
Country: India
Loan Use: Snack-making business

“My name is Mary Antony. I’m 43 years old. Sometimes when I was pregnant with my daughter, I didn’t eat. I couldn’t – my husband, who is a painter, had no work. We struggled to survive. We had nothing.”

Today, life looks very different and food plays a very different role in Mary Antony’s world. A loan of just Rs.8,000 (A$169) gave her the hand up she needed to build a business making snacks in her village in Thrissur, India.

Mary Antony used the loan to buy utensils and a stove and set about writing recipes for local favourites like samosas, unniappams and fritters. Mary Antony and her husband start work every morning at 4am and they are often so busy they don’t eat breakfast until 3pm.

The first task for the day is to prepare the batter. Then they cut the onions for the vadas (salty delicacy, made of lentils) and mix everything together. After that they prepare a potato snack (bonda) and sughiyan (fried snack with lentil stuffing).

The business is thriving so now Mary Antony is employing four women and the profits have paid for her two daughters, Anu (24) and Anju (22) to go to school and university - both graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce. “I’m very proud of them!” she exclaimed.

The locals love her snacks and according to Mary Antony: “Whoever has tasted our items comes searching for us. Orders are plenty. I’m not able to meet the demand. There are enough orders for us to keep working until late every evening. I also get orders for weddings and other celebrations. We also make sure we don’t reuse the oil. So, the taste of our snacks is good and fresh.”

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