The surfaces in Vandana’s shop in Nagpur, India, are covered in a fragrant, colourful dust. Not because they’re unclean, but rather because of the flurry of powdered activity that happens here every day. Vandana and her husband Pawan run a spice shop, flour mill and mustard seed oil refinery in their village – three businesses they kickstarted with an initial small loan of Rs.30,000 (A$556.26) a few years back.
The businesses earn Vandana and her husband Rs.25,000 (A$463.85) a month – 2.5 times their income before the loan. For years, Vandana and her husband struggled to provide for their two children Himanshu and Monika on no more than A$6 a day.
The loan changed everything. “We now have better living standards due to our increase in earnings,” says Vandana. “My children are getting a better education at a better school and I can even afford tutors for them for a better understanding of their subjects.”
The family can also afford more regular, nutritious meals. Their favourite dinner is kadhi (a curry-like dish made with yoghurt), served with roti and sometimes even kheer (rice pudding) for dessert.
“We can even save and invest more for our future,” says Vandana.
Himanchu wants to be an engineer. He’s grateful to his mother for her determination to give them a better life. “She is very hard working and she loves me a lot,” he says.
“I want my children to have success in their education and career,” says Vandana. “But above all that, I want them to be good human beings.”
Thanks to the help of an initial small loan, women like Vandana have seen their hard work grow into successful businesses – enabling them to generate a regular income, provide their children with a quality education and help break the cycle of poverty.
Read more about microfinance and how it's a sustainable solution to paving pathway out poverty.