Nitu Disha“Be careful lest the ceiling fan drops on your head. It’s the first one he has installed so I am a little sceptical. Sit directly beneath it at your own risk,” says 32-year-old Nitu Devi referring to her husband and the fan above our heads, as wary looks on our faces quickly turn into peals of laughter.

Nitu is visibly excited and cracking one joke after another sitting in her newly constructed grocery store that she has recently established.

“I don’t have much education, so all that you see here is due to the DISHA project training and my husband’s constant support,” she says as the laughter subsides.

Nitu is a resident of the Gaushala area of Mahendragarh district of Haryana, and is one of the several women participants of UNDP’s DISHA project being implemented in the state by HPPI.

“I was informed about the training through one of my neighbours and as I heard the trainers talk about various ways of setting up an enterprise, I became more and more confident of opening this store here,” she recalls.

The are Nitu lives in is inhabited mostly by migrant workers from UP and Bihar, and as one approaches her street, one can’t help but notice the lack of any grocery stores nearby.

“The training covered all aspects of starting and running a business successfully. With many migrant families living here and no grocery stores, I knew that my market was ready and the profits are bound to come,” she says.

It quickly becomes evident that Nitu’s keen enterprising ardour makes up for her lack of formal education.

“I knew that I needed some initial capital to get the goods for the shop. Though he works as a tailor, we didn’t have enough savings to invest. So, I took a loan of Rs. 20,000 from a local microfinance institution and the same amount from my friends and relatives to stock the shop,” she says.

Nitu Disha3

Today, within three months of establishing the store, it is already self-sustaining and Nitu is proud to say that she hasn’t taken a paisa from her husband’s tailoring income.

“Based on the sales in the months since I started the store, I can save anywhere between Rs. 10-15,000 monthly. This provides us unprecedented financial freedom and helps us plan for the future in a more constructive way. It is all thanks to the training received under the DISHA project,” she says.

While walking out of her store we ask Nitu about her future plans and she is quick to reply: “As soon as the loan repayment is done, I’ll use the savings from the store to open a cosmetic shop on the floor above this one. Secondly, I will get a shutter installed in front of this shop so it looks like a proper shop,” she says with a spirited laugh.

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About HPPI

Humana People to People India is a development organization registered as a not-for-profit company under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 as of 21st May 1998. It is a non-political, non-religious organization. Its mission is to unite with people in India in order to create development in the broadest sense through the implementation of the projects that aim at transferring knowledge, skills and capacity to individuals and communities who need assistance to come out of poverty and other dehumanizing conditions.

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