It is laundry day at Anisa Sheik’s home in Kherwadi. We climb up the stairs past lines of colorful, drying clothing and sit in the small, main room off the kitchen.
Anisa graciously allows us to interview her and take photos for the ACCION blog. She says being interviewed is the least she can do for Swadhaar after all they’ve done for her. Anisa is very excited that we’re going to write about her and jokes with us to put everyone at ease.
Anisa sells sarees from her home in Kherwadi where she can outfit women for every occasion. She travels to another state, Gujarat, to procure sarees that no one else in Mumbai will have. But only a few years ago Anisa was limited by her undersized stock and infrequent trips to Gujarat. She never thought that anyone would give her a loan until she saw a pamphlet in her neighborhood for small loans for women; Anisa jumped at the chance to expand her business.
She first took a loan with Swadhaar, ACCION’s partner, in 2006 for about Rs. 5,000 or USD 106 to expand her inventory. She is now an experienced borrower currently paying back her sixth loan of Rs. 20,000 or roughly USD 425. Anisa is fully aware of the opportunities that have opened up to her since she first gained access to microcredit. She is now able to purchase more sarees, which means she can sell more and, of course, profit more. She also takes advantage of the opportunity to purchase goods in cash, which is less expensive than negotiating a purchase on credit from a saree supplier.
Anisa has done so well with the saree business that she and her husband have been able to open a second business, a motorcycle repair garage across from their house. With the profits from both businesses Anisa is preparing to send her 19 year old son, Mohisin, to medical school this fall. She proudly shows off her one and a half month old granddaughter, Aligra. She hopes that someday Aligra will be a doctor too.
Without that first loan from Swadhaar, Anisa doubts that she could have made enough progress to be where she is now. She is thankful to Swadhaar and ACCION. And she has a special message for ACCION donors: your money is being spent well. “It’s going to the right place,” she says.