Microfinance – Bare Foot Ambitions
‘Ujjivan has been like a Guardian to us’ – Neelam Devi recalls, reminiscent in the flashbacks of not so recent past. Neelam Devi has been associated with Ujjivan for more than 7 Years now. She started her journey with Ujjivan by borrowing a group loan for Rs. 10,000. Neelam Devi flanked by her two sons and husband Mr. Ranjit near Danapur in Patna says she feels proud to be associated with Ujjivan.
‘The money has been utilized mostly for the growth and development of business’ – a proud Neelam Devi explains, who owns and operates screen printing facility from her house. She is currently into plastic board and plastic sticker printing and a little of vinyl printing too.
She has been graduated to Individual Loans for last 3 Years now. Husband Ranjit Kesri who partners the same business says, “Competition has been very fierce, thanks to higher ticket size Individual Loans from Ujjivan. We are able to purchase raw materials on time and meet our working capital demands”.
Neelam Devi, who is married to Mr. Ranjit Kesri for more than 12 years now, describes how her business has been going through ups and downs. She says they have worked very hard to achieve what they own today. A proud Ranjit Ji clarifies how his dream of joining a government job could not materialize as he could not afford to pay a bribe which was demanded after clearing the job interview, tear drops almost ready to flow down his confident face. He adds he had to take all the responsibilities of his family very early in life. A confident Ranjit Ji looks towards wife Neelam Devi & his children and adds “I am happy I chose a different path and life has given me more than I desired.”
Neelam Devi has got a repeat Individual Business Loan of Rs. 100,000 recently. She tells some of her distant relatives still don’t believe her when she tells them how she has been getting an incremental unsecured loan from Ujjivan every year. She laughs and says, “I tell them all – you can’t taste the fruits of heaven until you perish.” She cautions, one must not borrow more than their repayment capacity. She has not missed a single EMI in her 7 Year plus stint with Ujjivan.
Neelam Devi recalls that with some portion of last Individual loan amount of Rs. 75,000 from Ujjivan, they purchased a Desktop Computer and Printer with Scanner which was an automation for their screen printing business. Now they design demanded templates on tracing paper over the computer directly and are able to fetch better prices for same in the market after print.
Neelam Devi tells they could save half the EMI amount of Ujjivan very easily through this automation itself. Earlier they had to outsource this part. By owning it, they could save a daily amount of Rs. 150. The same amount was kept aside as part of monthly repayment amount, which eventually resulted into timely and hassle free repayments. Neelam Devi says her two sons have also learnt how to operate a computer now.
Neelam Devi wants to purchase Screen Printing Machine and make the whole facility fully automated in near future. She calculates the cost for same to be around Rs. 2 Lakh. She is planning to purchase same by the end of calendar year 2015 and wants to upgrade her business to CFL Bulb printing and Fiber art works etc. in next 2-3 Years.
Neelam Devi, while demonstrating the screen printing process feels proud to inform that her print materials are currently reaching to the partners spread across parts of Bihta, Danapur, Fatuah and Darbhanga, all in Bihar. She says she will not rest till her printed materials are available in 3-4 different states other than Bihar too. She declares confidently, “I will materialize it soon if Ujjivan continues to support us.”