Sarika Shinde, 30, lives with her daughter Sanskriti, 14 and Sankar, 11 in Nandgaon village, Osmanabad district, Maharashtra. She got married in 2006. But only a couple of years after marriage, her husband suffered from alcoholism plunging the still newly wedded Sarika into mental and physical agony.

Things did not improve as years went on. Her children already growing up, also suffered the consequences of a delinquent father who was not only unhelpful but was violent under influence. Deciding to protect her children, she left her marriage with only a few clothes and returned to her elderly parents.

She started sewing blouses and children’s clothes at home to support her children and her aging parents. Soon, it became a business. From a single sewing machine, it became 4 sewing machines employing 3 people.

She signed up with Nirmanshree project after participating in the discussions with the team.

She received training on Enterprise Development Program and Government Schemes (Social Entitlements) and received certification under Recognition of Prior Learning as she learnt how to build a sustainable business and access government schemes for business expansion. Post the training, she received handholding support to apply for the Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme to start a mask making micro-enterprise. She was granted a loan of INR 1,00,000 with 35% subsidy, with the remaining amount to be repaid within 2 years – free of interest and has received the first instalment of INR 50,000.

“I am looking forward to this new phase in our lives. I am truly delighted that this new track of business will not only improve our income but support other families,” says Sarika.

Since the launch of Project Nirmanshree's Entrepreneurship Development Program training, many women like Sarika have shown the courage to start or expand their microenterprises and have been linked with appropriate Government schemes. Sarika will use the financial support to construct a shed so she can make her mask-making business productive and efficient. She is aiming to produce 300 masks every month and will continue tailoring blouses as a part of her business.