An empowered woman helps to empower other women

“In the early 1990s, I remember my shop was one of the only 2 shops in this area of our slum, it was unheard of a woman to own a business in our community back then. During such a time I took a step forward and achieved success,” says Maya with utmost pride.

Then Maya being a wife and mother of 5 kids decided to take matters into her hand and opened a small grocery shop in Asha’s Kalkaji slum community. Maya was married off at the young age of 17. Soon she gave birth to 2 sons, followed by 3 daughters. Her husband made a decent living working in a sack company. He earned 1000 Rs a month (14 USD/ 11 £). His salary was enough to feed 7 mouths, however, Maya wanted more from life.

“I was associated with the Mahila Mandal (Women’s Association) right from the beginning, so the Asha values were ingrained in me. I never understood the purpose of sitting around and gossiping during my spare time as many women in my community did, the Asha value of making one’s dignity highly empowered me to start my own business,” recalls Maya.

With the availability of Asha’s Financial Programme, Maya took a loan of Rs.40,000. (560 USD and 448 £). “My husband helped to set the shop location. I would never have been able to achieve the dream of being a businesswoman without the support of my husband” says an emotional Maya. This loan helped Maya buy various groceries sold in a typical Indian ration shop. In due time Maya and her husband repaid the loan. Her business turned profitable and Maya was able to support her family.

“I didn’t treat my daughters any less than my sons, all 3 of my daughters are educated and the youngest one has recently finished an Air Hostess course, maybe one day I too will fly with her and see clouds in front of me,” says Maya.

Today, Maya is a beacon of hope and an icon to many housewives in her slum community. She is still attached to Asha and helps guide and empower housewives such as herself.

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