Baby Naaz, India
In northern India, Grameen Foundation has been working with Margdarshak, a microfinance institution (MFI) that provides loans and training, and helps create opportunities for its clients to sell their goods. A year and a half ago, Baby Naaz became one of its clients. Living in one of the poorest parts of Lucknow, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, she and her four daughters regularly skipped meals when her husband was not able to earn enough money selling readymade clothes from his bicycle. To take care of her family, she jumped at the chance to use a skill she learned from her mother – Zardozi embroidery, which involves intricate patterns in gold thread.
Taking a loan of 10,000 rupees (about $200) from Margdarshak, she began doing Zardozi embroidery at home. She approached a few local cloth merchants and started receiving orders for her goods from them. Although the profits were small, she started building a steady and regular source of income.
Baby Naaz already paid off her first loan and has since received a second loan, of 15,000 rupees, to expand her business. She has also started saving for her daughter’s wedding. She owes her success to her grit – and to training from Margdarshak’s staff.
Today, Baby Naaz employs three girls from her community and takes bulk orders from cloth merchants. Her daughters are now attending school regularly and she plans to send them to university. She also wants them to work – something that can be considered taboo in her community – so that their families will not have to rely on one source of income.