Jayashree lives in the suburbs of Bangalore and is married and the mother of two children. We visited her at her humble dirt floor one room home for the first time in 2007. We were touched by her warm smile and most generous hospitality, serving us hot tea and cookies.
Jayashree was born into a very poor family in Bangalore. When she was a child, her family’s financial situation became so severe that she had to drop out of school and work at a garment factory. She toiled throughout her childhood and after she got married at fifteen, her meager earnings had to support her ailing in-laws. She had two children. Her husband’s rickshaw business was not enough to pay her sons’ education or secure food for the family.
In 2007, Jayashree learned from her neighbors about Grameen Koota’s microfinance program and applied for her first loan. She was granted a first loan of 7,000 rupees ($175), and immediately bought her husband’s auto rickshaw. Owning their own rickshaw business increased their income significantly.
Jayashree was able to pay back her entire loan in one year and became eligible for her second loan in 2008. Having proven her diligence, her second loan amount doubled to 15,000 rupees ($375). This time, she bought a sewing machine and started stitching bags. The family’s earnings have now tripled and she is earning 150 rupees ($3.75) a day. In addition, she opened a small shop next to her house to sell her products which is earning her an additional 100 rupees ($2.50) a day.
She is sending her elder son to a medical school. Her son dreams of becoming a doctor and thanks his mother’s business for providing his education, their own home and daily food.
This post is extracted with permission from the original article published by LA Yoga magazine here.
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