VFS Capital borrower with her business

Sudha Das

How Sudha keeps the kitchen fires burning

When Sudha got married to Velu Das, she found herself in charge of not only the family kitchen but also ended up making the most important tool in every kitchen: the portable coal-fired stove used in rural households. Velu, 50, a resident of Abdarpur village in West Bengal’...

VFS Capital borrower at work

Pratima Dutta

Meet Pratima, specialist in wedding headgear

When Pratima got married to Dulal Dutta over 30 years ago, she realized that the headgear the groom had worn to the wedding had been much better than the one the bride’s family gave him in the kanya daan for the ceremony itself. She shouldn’t have expected otherwis...

Microfinance borrower at her dashokormo shop

Champa Das

Champa’s shop has everything for religious rituals

Champa Das, 40, and her husband Tarak Chandra began their entrepreneurial journey before their two children were born. Today, 20 years later, her children help her run her dashokormo bhandar, a shop that sells items required in the scores of rituals and ceremonies in ...

VFS microfinance customer at her tailoring unit

Marufa Bibi

Marufa interlocks marriage with business

When Marufa got married as a teenager just out of school, she did not have to go looking for a job like others. Her husband Ruhul Quddus Mondal had launched a tailoring business and Marufa became his work partner. A quick learner, Marufa was soon an employer. Her business: ...

VFS microfinance customer in Bihar

Pratibha Devi

Pratibha starts rearing cattle, husband can now retire

As you browse social media or check out a YouTube recipe, you are likely to be hit with advertisements for apps offering fresh milk at your doorstep. Don’t be surprised if one of them buys its milk from the likes of Pratibha Devi of Baidnathpur in Bihar’s Araria district. P...

VFS microfinance borrower at her garments shop

Suity Kumari Sinha

Bihar woman learns from tailor husband

When Suity Kumari got married to Naresh Kumar Sinha in 2013, she gained two things: an enterprising husband and his tailoring skills. Naresh, a resident of Bahadurganj in Bihar’s Kishanganj district, had done a stint in hosiery stitching units in distant Ludhiana before coming...

VFS microfinance customer with her handloom

Subala Roy

Assam woman learns to weave dreams of silk

Subala Roy’s husband Asit was a worker in the silk-yarn business who took some training in weaving. So, when Subala decided to start a business to add to the family income, it was quite natural for Asit to suggest that they weave traditional Assamese wear such as mekhela chado...

VFS microfinance customer at her shoe store

Dipa Mondal

Bengal woman has all the shoes Majhergram needs

Earlier in February 2022, while most parents had to rush to buy shoes for their school-going children after the prolonged COVID19 shutdown, Dipa Mondal did not have to worry. She owns a shoe store, so her son, 13, is well shod. He studies in Class 8. Dipa stocks the entire ...

VFS microfinace customer at her fertiliser shop

Eshani Das

Bengal woman helps grow husband’s business

For Eshani Das, 32, it’s all in the family, like many microfinance customers. Husband Sushanto, who was a sales representative for a pesticides company, decided to set up a retail outlet for fertilisers and pesticides around six years ago. They began the business with their ow...

VFS microfinance customer with mushrooms

Malina Sharma

Bengal woman goes from mid-life blues to income

Malina Sharma was bored. With her three children settled in life, Malina, a resident of West Bengal’s Hooghly district, wanted to do something that would keep her busy and maybe bring in some money. Her son Milan, 35, who spent hours on the internet, did some research and came...

VFS microfinance customer

Sukla Das

Poultry was a loss, so she got into puffed rice

Sukla Das was munching on jhalmuri one evening at her parents’ house when she thought: why not make muri? Pregnant with her first child, she was staying with her parents, who made muri or puffed rice for a living. Sukla worried about her husband Kanu Biswas. They h...

VFS microfinance borrower

Anjali Pal

Farmer Anjali grows vegetables… and 3 graduates!

Lockdown or no lockdown, poor or rich, educated or illiterate, everybody needs the things that Anjali Pal of Nityanandapur makes. Rather, grows. Vegetables. Lots of them. Round the year. Anjali grows potato, brinjal, spinach, coriander, beans, pointed gourd, ridge gourd, a who...

VFS microfinance customer at her garments shop

Antara Majumder

Bengal woman makes it big with garments shop

Antara Majumder, 39 is in a safe business: readymade garments. Better still, her shop is the only one selling garments in Mondalpara in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district. Antara first business was with her husband Biswajit, 48, who is a supplier of poultry to retaile...

VFS microfinance customer at readymade garments unit

Dipa Das

Bengal woman does Facebook Live to keep sales going

When Dipa Das and her readymade garments business ran into the COVID19 lockdown in 2020, she was staring at an abyss till her younger daughter-in-law showed her the magic of selling on Facebook Live. Dipa’s sales recovered. For people like Dipa, the Facebook Live pitch is s...

VFS microfinance customer with medicine distributor business

Bilquis Ara

The go-to person for vet drugs in Kamarhati

Kamarhati residents with ailing dogs or cats probably turn up at the shop run by Bilquis Ara, 38. They must: Bilquis says she has been in the business for ten years and is the only one in the area focused on veterinary medicines. Bilquis first visited the Village Financial ...

VFS microfinance borrower at her grocery

China Dutta

Birbhum woman starts a new life in middle age

China Dutta is one of those microfinance customers who turn entrepreneurs at an age when most women sit back after running a household and bringing up children. China, 55, has had a tough childhood: she was one of nine children of poor parents. She had to quit school after ...

VFS microfinance borrower with plastics machine

Debika Adak

From plastic streamers to toy cars, her range is growing

When Debika Adak got married 14 years ago, she was just out of her teens, armed with a Class 10 school certificate. She began helping her husband Arup with his tiny plastics manufacturing unit in Pancharul, West Bengal. The business was then just a year old and Arup had sta...

VFS microfinance customer at her shop

Monika Adhikary

She stocks a diverse range, but makes money

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, the idiom goes. Monika Adhikary, a resident of Thanamakua in West Bengal’s Howrah district, followed this instinctively. She began with two diverse businesses long before the COVID19 pandemic and the lockdowns triggered by it showed the i...

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 ...

Tripura tribal woman weaving bridal wear

Gunjali Tripura

Tripura woman chooses to be her boss

Gunjali Tripura, 30, dropped out of school after Class 10 and then broke the usual rural tradition of getting married or being married off. Instead, she has become a weaver, making wedding dresses for tribals. After completing Class 10, Gunjali, a resident of Sachiram Bari ...

VFS microfinance customer with rubber sheets

Sumita Deb Barma

Tripura woman finds secure income in rubber sheets

Sumita Deb Barma is unlikely to ever figure on any list of top businesswomen or entrepreneurs. But the world cannot do without the millions of women and men like her: 90 per cent of the world’s natural rubber production comes from smallholder farmers like Sumita. And, despite ...

VFS microfinance customer at her tailoring shop

Nasima Bibi

Class 8 dropout employs 3 at her business

Not all Indians buy clothes online or as readymade apparel. Most still depend on the neighbourhood tailor: they get to choose their fabric and the fit and it’s cheaper. That’s why women like Nasima Bibi of Tarakeswar in West Bengal’s Hooghly district can run a thriving busines...

VFS customer at her tea stall

Debi Rani Barman

Bengal woman shows how hard work pays

If you happen to drive to Balurghat, headquarters of West Bengal’s South Dinajpur district, halt for a cup of tea and bakery biscuits at Patiram. Debi Rani Barman’s tea shop is popular with drivers of long-distance buses, trucks and others halting near Taltala More petrol pump...

VFS customer with readymade garments

Indrani Maity

Bengal mom makes a living selling garments door to door

Indrani Maity is good at reading the pulse of her customers: when she returns home in the evening, her large bag of readymade garments is much lighter than it was in the morning when she set out with it. For her immediate neighbourhood, she walks. For longer distances, she use...

VFS microfinance customer making household chemicals

Piyali Deb

Uluberia woman is a success at mixing chemicals

Piyali Deb’s tale is just what Village Financial Services hopes to weave every time it lends to an enterprising woman: she has put her two sons through college while running a business in making household chemicals. Piyali, 43, married to Shibhankar Deb for 24 years, starte...

Poonam Kaur

Adversity made Poonam Kaur a real entrepreneur

Poonam Kaur, 34, is an unusual customer of Village Financial Services: She is a graduate with a B.Ed degree when most borrowers have barely completed school. Poonam, a resident of Sonar Patti village in Bihar’s Kishanganj district, had to move up the entrepreneurship ladder...

Anusaya Nath

Living with Mother Durga the year-round

Anusaya Nath lives with Mother Durga every day, not just during the Durga Puja festival. Pass by her house in Fakirpur village of Odisha’s Keonjhar district, and you get the lovely smell of bread baking from seven in the morning to six in the evening. Joy Maa Durga is the b...

Sunita Bai Malviya

Furniture is fine, but brick mould is best-seller

Sunita Bai Malviya, 50, had been making wooden furniture and special items with her husband Ram Mohan for over two decades before she turned to Village Financial Services for a loan to scale up the business. The VFS branch, in their town of Pipariya in Hoshangabad district of ...

Sumitra Debi Pandit

Clay dolls are good business, with bhars as backup

For Sumitra, there was no culture clash when she got married to Chandra Shekhar Pandit 20 years ago: Both were from the potter clan of Kumbhakars. Her husband’s family, residents of Panchudanga in the Adra area of West Bengal’s Purulia district, made terracotta bhars or...

Mamani Adhikari

Award-winning pickle-maker fights back

You won’t find Mamani Adhikari’s pickles in supermarkets or online, but they are a steal at Rs 50 for a 250gm bottle. Try haats or village markets, fairs and shops in West Bengal’s Coochbehar district. Look for the Priyotama Aachar brand. Mamani, 29, is a veteran p...