This is the story of Rini who is married and a mother of two children.
Two years ago, Rini decided to open up a women’s cooperative together with ten other women – many of them widows and alone. They opened up two shops, one for organic spices and a second one where they sell soap, earrings and clothes. Both shops are located in Kerala, in a small district in Kochi called Mattancherry. Everything is homemade and the women work together and share their gains. Their objective is to become economically independent. Some of them because they were forced to, as they have lost their husbands and are not able to gain or inherit any money. Some of them because they want to be independent women and they know that economic independence is one of the key factors for women to lead an independent life.
Rini got a loan from the government, which is about to be finished and has to be paid back in 2020. They have invested the money in the two shops, which are actually up and running, and their dream is to be able to pay back the loan and become fully independent.
Running a shop in India can be quite challenging and the fact that it is run by women only and that there is no sort of protection makes it even harder. Moreover, they want to offer fair products and fair prices.
Rini and her colleagues have turned into businesswomen but obviously there are still a lot of challenges they face. Nevertheless, this is a success story of a handfull of women applying for a loan together, starting their own business and being successful.
Hopefully there will be more women who decide to take this step and empower themselves to be able to lead a life independently, full of joy and economic & financial success.