Sarika Shinde (30) lives with her daughter Sanskruti (14) and son Sanskar (11) in Nandgaon village, Osmanabad district, Maharashtra. She got married in 2006, but only a couple of years after her wedding, her husband suffered from alcoholism, plunging Sarika into mental and physical agony.

Things did not improve as years went on. Her children were also suffering the consequences of a father who was not only unhelpful but violent under the influence of alcohol. Deciding to protect her children, she left her husband and returned to her elderly parents.

Sarika started sewing blouses and children’s clothes at home to support her family. Soon, it became a business. From a single sewing machine, it became 4 sewing machines and she was able to employ three people.

When Habitat India’s Project Nirmanshree team was raising awareness about the project and interacting with the villagers, her interest piqued. She was selected for Enterprise Development Program and Government Schemes, and certification under Recognition of Prior Learning. Here 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 Program(PMEGP) to start a mask making micro-enterprise. Through PMEGP, she was granted the financial support of INR 1,00,000 with 35% subsidy. Sarika has already received the first tranche of INR 50,000.

She 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.

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