Sumati has a god gifted talent. She can etch your name on a grain of Basmati Rice.

photo was taken in January 2020, pre-covid

A few months back she took a loan from Sharana to buy a table and stock up on key chains where she attaches these precious customised works of art and sells at fares and markets. Sales spike in the festive season.

Her husband is an auto rickshaw driver. Together in normal times and especially with the enhancement of her business, this loving soft spoken family was working towards a significant improvement in their living standard.

photo was taken in January 2020, pre-covid

But the new normal with COVID isn’t conducive at all to their respective income generating activities. These precious key chains find no takers, despite the festive season round the corner, and with schools shut and non-existent tourism an auto driver rarely finds a ride. But satiated hunger returns relentlessly and with every passing week other loan interest amounts accrue.

Sharana’s core policy being the instilling of the right ethic of a loan repayment habit, we refuse to burden our beneficiaries with repayment in these exceptional times.

So, what does a couple, willing to work hard and determined to live in dignity do?

Take another loan – to modify the Auto into a portable fruits and provisions store!

photo taken in June 2020

Today, Sumati and her husband start their day early; buy fruits from the whole sale market. All provisions are bought in bulk and repacked into smaller units by them in their house. They load their auto and during the day the couple scan the streets with their mobile shop. Income is low but it is there. Never for a moment should we forget that they expose themselves to crowded markets and customers in a pandemic. All for earning an honest living to scrape through their current existence with the bare minimum.

This too shall pass. We hope very soon Sumati’s delicate key chains will be in demand again and school children crowd their auto as do tourists.

-penned by Mrs. Alo Pal, board member.