Village microfinance customer at her grocery

Viro Devi

With children in school, mom turns grocer

Viro Devi’s husband Deepak helped her build her dream—he is a part-time mason and did the brickwork for the shop that Viro opened when she chose to become a grocer. Village Financial Services helped, with the initial loan to stock the shop.

Viro was already a mother of two when she decided that the family needed some extra income. Jobs are hard to come by, especially in the remote village of Resham Majri Grant in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun district where Viro, 35, and her family live. Viro’s husband had to do a lot of odd jobs when there was no work for masons. So Viro decided to become an entrepreneur.

She turned up at the Jolly Grant branch of VFS and got a loan of Rs 15,000. That was in 2019. Today, having survived the COVID19 lockdown because grocers were allowed to do limited business, she owes a total of Rs 30,000 or so but is regular with her payments.

Viro, who dropped out of school in Class 5, got married in 2007. The couple has a daughter, 10 years, who is in Class 6 and a son, 7, who is in class 3.

Viro got the idea for a grocery from her husband’s grandfather, who pointed out that there was some vacant space in between their house and the road, which could be put to good use.

Viro had to visit markets in Saharanpur and Jollygrant to stock the shop. Saharanpur is nearly 100km from her house, but Viro had an advantage. The family owns a second-hand Maruti 800, which is their workhorse. Deepak doubles up as the driver.

Their village has around 2,000 residents and just three grocers’ shops so demand is not a problem. The shop is open from dawn till 9pm and stocks

Viro claims she earns around Rs 12,000 a month net of all expenses and loan repayments. She does not have any helpers.

Published on Nov 15, 2021 | Updated on Apr 13, 2022