Today, Kamla Devi stands proudly outside her new tea and snack stand. She excitedly shares her plans to send her children back to school, pay off her debts, and build a sturdy house. With the profits she’s earning from the tea stand plus the regular salary she receives as a Samridhi employee, her future is bright.
Kamla’s future did not always look so promising. Last year, catastrophe struck her family when one of her five children, Kaushalya, was diagnosed with a life-threatening tumor. Kamla and her husband Kallu did not have the money to pay for her critical surgery. Kallu, who worked as a laborer, could only find work three to four months a year, and Kamla’s earnings from odd jobs like sweeping were sporadic and meager. To pay for their daughter’s steep medical bills, they drained their savings, borrowed 50,000 rupees (around $940 USD) from friends and family, and mortgaged their land. With only a buffalo and two calves in their possession, the family moved off their property. Two of Kamla’s children had to drop out of school to look for jobs to help support the family.
In March of 2012, Samridhi offered Kamla and her family an opportunity to find financial stability. Since Kamla’s buffalo and calves were not producing milk, she was thrilled with the chance to rear and milk a cow and calf from Samridhi. That cow now produces two to three liters of milk daily, enough to provide her a reliable income.
Kamla, a self-starter with an entrepreneurial spirit, was not satisfied to stop there. She soon channeled some of her earnings to open a nearby tea and snack shop, where she works after her Samridhi duties are done for the day. In the meantime, Samridhi also hired Kallu, who works at the nearby bulk milk chilling facility and helps to clean the equipment used to pour and test the milk. In their spare time, the couple’s older children assist with the facility’s bookkeeping and cook meals for both the family and Samridhi staff. With these additional jobs, the household is earning a little over 10,000 rupees (around $190) each month, and is using most of this to pay down its debts. Kamla hopes to soon repurchase their land, send their children to school, and build a home. With her drive and determination, she’ll reach her goals in no time!