By Jawwad Rizvi
MICROFINANCE has changed the life of Bushra Bibi, a mother of eight.
Bushra Bibi has been making and selling vermicelli to earn her livelihood for the last 18 years.
Earlier, she borrowed money from a private moneylender at a very high interest rate for her business. However, she could not earn enough to support her children as most of her income went in paying the interest.
Bushra Bibi said she was married to Shafaqat Ali about 20 years ago. She started her married life with him in Rampura, a village near Jallo Morr. After some time, they shifted to Adda Chabeel, another village near Daroghawala area, she said. “Since my marriage, I have been making vermicellis at home,” she said, adding her husband was a carpenter and did not have a regular worker. Therefore, she said, she started the business of making vermicelli at home.
She started the business with the help of her savings but was unable to carry on due to some domestic and financial problems. She borrowed Rs 10,000 from a local moneylender who charged Rs 2,000 as interest every month on the money.
“Interest payment made my life more miserable,” she said, adding ìwhatever I earned from the business went in payment of interest the moneylender.
“Due to interest payment, I lost my two-month-old son two years ago as he was ill and I had no money for his medical treatment”.
After making vermicelli at home, she used to take the produce for sale to different markets including Jallo Morr, Baghbanpura, Dharampura, Mughalpura, Akbari Mandi and Sheranwala Gate, she said.
She said she made four different kinds of vermicelli but she needed financing to boost her business.
Before availing herself of the microfinance, her financial position was too weak to buy enough raw materials like oil, sugar, flour etc to make vermicelli, she said. Therefore, she said, she could not produce as much as she was capable of. She availed the micro credit facility from Khushhali Bank and invested the borrowed funds in the business. Doing that, she not only increased her income but also savings, which contributed substantially towards a more affluent and better life for her family.
Bushra Bibi said after two months, she repaid all of the Rs 10,000 loan to the private moneylender in lump sum and got rid of the interest payment.
Now, she feels content and confident in terms of running her business independently and fully supports her family. Her monthly earning is over Rs 10,000 per month after taking out the expenses.
She wishes to give a good future to her children, who are now going to a private school. She is looking forward to a happier and healthier life ahead.