When her second born was an infant, Shanti’s husband left the house. That was four years go. Every now and then there are reports that he has been spotted here and there, but these have resulted in nothing. It is believed that he has lost his mental balance.

photo taken in November 2018 (pre-covid)

Her children attend the Angalakuppam crèche. This has enabled Shanti to work as a house keeper in a nearby hotel on a salary of about 6000 rupees a month. Her mother has moved in with her and receives an old age pension of 1000 rupees a month.

In November 2018 Shanti was given a loan of 20,000 rupees under Sharana’s Social Entrepreneurship Programme to buy four goats. Goat rearing can be a profitable business and one doesn’t need to cater to very specific high cost feeds and they are reared to essentially grow, multiply and used for meat. With Shanti however a series of unfortunate accidents like dog bites and difficult deliveries made that all four goats died. What is commendable is that Shanti repaid all but two instalments of her loan running up to the lockdown period.

photo taken in December 2018 (pre-covid)

She however lost her job in May and survived the next few months on provisions provided by Sharana as well as the government. Sharana replaxed her EMI payments for the remaining two instalments. Since July, Shanti travels to a shampoo packaging company in a shared auto and earns 250 rupees a day and manages her family. While Sharana is willing to give her a top up loan to start something anew Shanti at the moment is diffident. She isn’t willing to give up her job just yet. Life for her has just moved into a semblance of stability.

photo taken in December 2018 (pre-covid)

Shanti is a winner. Given her predicament of a single mother of two infants with a missing husband and a lost job she could have quickly made herself an object of pity. Her discipline of paying back the loan despite absolute failure in the venture is a commendable ethic. If this isn’t empowerment, what could possibly be?

-penned by Mrs. Alo Pal, board member