-penned by Alo, board member

The entrepreneur is not a product of the smart educated urban class, as Aruna has demonstrated. Today, with loan from Sharana under our Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme, her petty shop, has not only managed to stock up of fast moving products but has also enabled her to diversify her products and produce ranging from vegetables to stationery. Most importantly it has successfully warded off competition from other similar shops lined up and vying for her customers.

Aruna is 38, her twin 14 year old daughters are beneficiaries of Sharana and go to school and are serious students. Her older daughter is now in the 12th standard, also a serious student. Her husband works as a load man and is a daily wage earner with a serious alcohol addiction, her son, now 20, is a school dropout and an unproductive, violent, suicidal inveterate drug addict.

Two years back matters came to a head. Her wages from working as a house maid and her husband’s daily wage were just not enough to run the house. That is when she tapped her latent entrepreneurial instincts and raised capital with a loan from a private finance company and opened a petty shop. Two years on, when Sharana was looking for candidates for loans under the scheme mentioned above Aruna stood out as an energetic and ambitious and clear-sighted businesswoman. Her business plan was clear. In order to survive and remain viable she needed funds to compete with other shops that had opened in her vicinity. The loyalty of a customer is never a given. If her stocks were depleted or she lacked the diverse range of products small shops in small towns usually keep, her customer was bound to stroll to the next shop for his needs. It was a risk she could not afford.

In these two years or running her own business she had grown in self-esteem and confidence. She was ready to take on another loan.

One year post loan, we’re delighted to report that Aruna has been disciplined about her loan repayment. Sharana helps her maintain a petty cash book. She now feeds her family three healthy square meals a day. Her aim in life is to inculcate in her daughters this very same instinct for independence and self-respect. What’s more, now that her business is growing she’s willing to take a top up loan to grow further.

Her son however, remains a source of stress, in the larger context of a holistic intervention she will need to be told that succumbing to her son’s threats to physical violence and suicide and paying for his addiction is an enabling that has to stop. But social intervention has its own rhythm. Not everything can be addressed at once. And who knows, a mother’s blind spot for a delinquent son may just transform as Aruna grows from strength to strength.

-Sharana has changed the name of the Women in the above account as well as omitted some personal details to protect the identity of the family