Thalagasipalli adjoining Garladinne Revenue Mandal is 18 Km from the district headquarters. Pushpaleela, an illiterate aged 43 years belonging to Dalith community is one of the successful women who with the support from her husband could transform herself from a wage labourer to a small entrepreneur who is successfully managing provisions shop having an investment of over Rs.30, 000.
Devadas, her husband aged 46 years studied upto intermediate and is working as community based teacher earning a monthly remuneration of Rs.1000. They own a house built by RDT in 2003. They have constructed bathroom cum toilets and have also got individual tap connection. They have grown few plants in their premises giving good shade. They have less than 2 acres of dry land but they didn’t cultivate due to failure of rains during the past 5 years.
They have two daughters and a son. The elder daughter was an ex-sponsored child who dropped her education after she failed in her intermediate. She got married recently and is blessed with a girl child. Their second daughter, Sunitha is also a sponsored child who pursued her secondary education in government school at Mandal Headquarters and scored over 90%of marks. She was one of the successful students who got qualified in the entrance examination conducted by RDT for selecting meritorious students for Education Special Scholarship scheme.
After successful completion of her intermediate at a corporate college in Vijayawada with again over 90%of marks she got qualified in the entrance examination conducted by the Government of Andhra Pradesh for admission into technical/professional courses. She got a good rank fetching a seat in Government Medical College at neighbouring YSR Kadapa district. She is now doing her 3rd year medicine.She is a very shrewd student and has beenmaintaining good academic track record since her childhood. Their only son has recently completed his intermediate course and is planning to pursue his graduation.
“As a community based teacher my remuneration was only Rs.1000 per month as the strength of community school was less than 15. We were looking for alternate livelihood which we didn’t do earlier. We slowly thought of starting a petty shop with a provision for cell phone recharging facility in the old hut adjacent to our newly built house as it was vacant. We had no experience in that but we ventured because there was a scope to earn something to meet our basic needs at that critical period. There was no such shop in our colony and even in our village too which was an added advantage. Hence, we could take the risk after studying the pros and cons” Devadas
There were a good number of greenhouse nurseries in and around Garladinne and there was a scope for earning a daily average income of Rs.200. She also wanted to be independent and upon the suggestion given by her husband she decided to start petty business. She availed a loan of Rs.8000 from Women’s Development Fund (WDF) for that Income Generation Activity. It was mostly different types of biscuits, chocolates and children’s eatables such as CHIPS (KURKURE snacks) which she was selling in her shop.
They were buying them in bulk from businessmen in Ananthapuram town. They were getting a net income ranging from Rs.100 to Rs.125 per day. She gained experience in selling them and could clear the loan that she took from Women Development Fund (WDF), a revolving fund constituted by RDT.
Almost 100% of families belonging to SC community especially women rely upon labour work in nurseries as it was not a strenuous job and they don’t get directly exposed to Sun. Sometimes each woman could earn Rs.2000 per week. Families belonging to higher castes at Thalagasipalli call labour from other villages since people belonging to SC community prefer to work only in nurseries as they could earn more than what they used to get working for other caste farmers.
Pushapaleela gained experience in petty business and started managing it almost independently. Her husband was a source of great help to her in buying what was needed for the shop from wholesale dealers in Ananthapuram. They were planning to expand their business. It was exactly at that point of time they got the money from the matured bonds given by RDT under women to women program. It was Rs.16000 and they added their saving of Rs.7000 and invested on provisions business.
Petty shop got converted as a provisions store that contains different types of provisions such as tamarind, red gram, Bengal gram, jaggery, sugar and all the essential provisions needed for cooking food apart from cosmetics including soaps, powders, shampoo, oils etc., As usual her husband helps in buying required provisions from wholesale dealers in Ananthapuram and bring them either in auto or buses. Sometimes both of them go to Ananthapuram when they intend buy provisions in bulk. Mostly her husband buys what is needed in required quantity as and when needed. He developed good trading contacts with the businessmen involved in wholesale business in old town, Ananthapuram.
“We sell the products on MRP (Maximum Retail Price) but we get a profit ranging from 10% to 20%. The products which we sell are fresh and are of good quality since we buy them in small quantities at regular intervals. We also sell vegetables such as potatoes, onions and garlic. They prefer buyingproducts in our shop because getting them in town involves unnecessary transport cost. Cell phones are of great help for improved communications and also to speed up the business transactions.
Moreover our shop works from dawn to dusk and we maintain stocks of all products at any time. Our turnover per day range from Rs.1200 to Rs.1800. It was on festival season our business crosses even Rs.1900. We approximately earn a net profit of Rs.250 to Rs.300 per day and it could be even higher during festivals.
All caste people both BC and OC come to our shop to buy provisions. A majority of them are women who sit on our cot for a while and share the news about their families and village. Such cordial exchange of feelings reduce the distance among different castes.
There are a few government pensioners in our village who buy in our shop as we also sell on credit basis. They make payments monthly. We provide credit facility only for those persons who are very much known to us but we charge little higher since we had to wait for one month for getting payment. Everybody is requesting us to keep cool drinks but it needs again investment. Even a refrigerator costs more than Rs.15000. We shall think of it only after stabilizing the present venture.
We could save amount and performed our daughter’s marriage nicely. I could buy saris of my taste and a few domestic items such as vessels. We are focusing on reinvestment of profits for expanding our business since there is a scope for improved earnings.
My mother in law who enacts the role of mother stays with us and ours is a happy home. Not only our family but many SC families could construct bathroom cum toilet and even kitchens in the vacant site. A few families are planning to approach RDT for housing since their houses are small and congested. In our colony all SC families maintain their houses neatly. ” Pushpaleela
Pushpaleela is able to carry out all transactions independently and she knows the purchasing cost of each item as well as their selling price. She is well versed with weights and measurements.
“I maintain transparency in selling the products. Sometimes parents send their children since they know that we charge reasonably and there will be no discrepancy in weights and measurements. We have that reputation in our village and hence, people prefer products here. There are no timings and people start coming from morning till late nights also. We should have lot of patience because we need those who buy a product worth Rs.1 and those who buy Rs.100 worth products. We never get a feeling that we are no way inferior to others because we have good rapport with all communities and we also live like other with dignity. They never disregard us nor do we treat them differently. We would maintain such good relations with all the families in our village because we rely upon our customers who may belong to any caste or religion.
Pushpaleela and her husband shared that target families could see light only after RDT entered their lives. They said that their huts were almost in collapsing condition but RDT could come to our rescue by constructing houses involving all of us. “We suffered a hell living in those congested huts with children and aged in-laws. All those conditions indicating our backwardness are getting changed appreciably. The very entry of RDT changed our destiny. RDT sponsored all our three children and it provided savings every year. We purchased gold chain for our elder daughter by partly making use of her savings amount (Rs.10000). My second daughter who is doing doctor’s course has Rs.12000 in her savings account while my son has Rs.11, 700 and these grants are given by RDT for our children. Both WDF and Women to Women grant helped me to stabilize myself in the business field that helps me to run the family smoothly without looking for outside help.
I still remember those days when I had to save one rupee and even less and take permission from my husband to buy even a jacket piece costing Rs.20. Today I could take independent decision to buy any sari or household articles and later inform him. Good understanding between husband and wife is needed in any family. I am lucky in this regard because my husband is co-operative and he struggles equally for improving the conditions of our family.He will not raise any objection since I earn money by working hard from morning till night. I never imaged that I would progress like this in my life but improved economic conditions contributed for my improved social status both in the community and village. We are going to see our daughter as a doctor shortly and all our rare dreams are becoming true adding value to our life, creating a new hope for a bright future” Pushpaleela
Women belonging to marginalized sections have the leadership and managerial abilities to take up feasible enterprises of their choice fetching improved socio-economic status and run it successfully. Pushpaleela is one such example who with her willpower, support from her husband and family members and facilitation from RDT could transform herself into successful entrepreneur from the position of a daily wage earner. Stability depends upon the ability to choose the venture and uncompromising hard work to develop it further by overcoming the obstacles that come in the way of success.