Ashwini, a 43-year-old resident of Vijayapura in Bangalore Rural District, found herself facing a significant life-altering event last year when she, along with her husband and two children, was compelled to leave her in-laws' house. This forced the family into a state of uncertainty, leading them to settle in a small rented home that fell short of meeting their needs. However, in the face of this adversity, Ashwini exhibited remarkable resilience by not only adapting to her new circumstances but also taking proactive steps to secure a more stable future.
To supplement the family income, Ashwini took up tailoring and embroidery, skills she possessed, and started selling milk from the cow she owned. These dual roles became the source of her income, amounting to Rs 12,000 per month. The earnings were crucial for meeting the family's basic needs and covering the monthly rent. Simultaneously, Ashwini's husband initiated a business venture in their village, installing nets to protect plants and fruits, which contributed an additional Rs 25,000 to their monthly income.
In the midst of these challenges, Ashwini clung to a dream: owning a house. However, this dream seemed distant, given their current circumstances. The turning point in her life came when a Field Associate invited her to join the Buzz Vyapar program in September 2023. This initiative proved to be transformative for Ashwini as it equipped her with valuable skills, particularly in investing and optimizing income. The newfound knowledge provided her with a roadmap to navigate the path towards financial stability and independence.
In December, Ashwini decided to translate her aspirations into action by establishing a cashew factory. The initial investment amounted to Rs 25,000, demonstrating her commitment to turning her dreams into reality. To fuel her ambitious plans, Ashwini went a step further by taking a gold loan and a car loan, reflecting her determination to take bold steps in her journey towards financial independence.
Ashwini's motivation to venture into entrepreneurship stemmed from her experience of having nothing that was truly her own when she and her family were abruptly evicted from their previous home. This experience became a catalyst for her desire to be self-sufficient and capable of providing for her children independently, especially in challenging times.
The establishment of the cashew factory marked a significant milestone in Ashwini's journey. The factory, which employs ten individuals – five women and five men, quickly became a lucrative venture. Within a short span, the monthly income from the factory reached an impressive Rs 2 lakh. This success not only allowed Ashwini to repay loans but also enabled her to procure raw materials and invest in technological equipment for the factory. Importantly, the shop is registered in her name, symbolizing her newfound sense of ownership and empowerment.
Ashwini's decision to start a cashew factory wasn't just a practical business move; it was a bold step toward breaking gender stereotypes. In a taluk where women owning factories is a rare occurrence, Ashwini stands out as a trailblazer. The cashews produced in her factory are distributed to individuals, wholesale shops, and local hotels and dhaabas, expanding her market reach and contributing to the local economy.
Looking ahead, Ashwini has set ambitious goals for the future. She envisions employing 100 people within the next five years, outlining a comprehensive plan that reflects her determination and foresight. Her journey encapsulates the essence of the Buzz Vyapar program, which aims to empower women to dream and aspire to craft their own lives. Ashwini's unique selling proposition lies in her ability to look forward with unwavering determination.
Ashwini's story is a testament to the transformative power of entrepreneurship and empowerment programs like Buzz Vyapar. Her journey from adversity to success showcases the resilience and strength that women possess when given the opportunity to shape their destinies. As she boldly asserts, "Women should not be helpless; I was, and now I'm not, and never will be." By crafting her own life, Ashwini emerges as an inspiration for others, demonstrating that with determination and vision, one can overcome challenges and build a brighter future.