Evolution of a Dream
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Client Stories

Mangali Kistamma

MEHABOOBNAGAR district in Andhra Pradesh has a rigid caste system and in Kothur village of this district lives a mangali family. You are born a mangali (barber), you have no other choice, except serve the village folk and provide these services. In return the mangali is paid in kind. Traditionally the mangali visits the homes to provide this service.

Mangali Kistamma was against the whole system and especially the caste system, which gave her and her family no options. As a member of the Self-Help Group, she voiced her opinion against the system and kept the members thinking. She was granted a loan of Rs 5000 and with it she put up a barber shop at one end of the village market area. Her son-in-law was the barber. He now sits in the shop and earns Rs 50 per day, grooming the hair of villagers. People now pay him in cash. His turnover averages Rs 2000/- per month and he and his mother-in-law are determined to change the course of their children’s lives. They are determined to give them affordable education and get into a more challenging profession. Mangali Kistamma has insured her son-in-law and daughter with the help of daily savings. She pays a premium of Rs 60 per month and has taken up Micro Insurance policy through The Bridge Foundation. Her capacity to save has increased.

They dream of saving up money, buying land , having their own house and above all improving their barber shop. Mangali Kistamma and her son-in-law say that the village is changing and the young people are exposed to urban styles. Her son-in-law has spent six weeks, training in the nearby town saloon, learning new styles. His income will further go up to Rs 75 a day, charging more for special hair styles.

Kuni Sabar

KUNI SABAR a tribal living in a slum in Bhawanipatna, a town in Kalahandi district. The district is inhabited by tribal people who have suffered the onslaught of droughts and all types of natural calamities. The local and national media reported starvation deaths in this district in July / August 2001. The people do not have the economic capacity to spend for two square meals a day.

The family depended on her husband’s income from agricultural labour. He was paid daily wages and work was never available throughout the month. It is in these circumstances Kuni Sabar wanted to increase the family resources by setting up a rice- processing unit. Once determined, she identified a moneylender, borrowed Rs 1000 and paid an interest of 36% per annum. Suddenly realizing that whatever she earned, was being paid to the moneylenders by way of exorbitant interest leaving nothing for her.

The introduction of The Bridge Foundation's microfinance program is a strong deterrent for the moneylenders. The Bridge Foundation identified Kuni Sabaras as a potential loanee and a woman who had the ability and creativity to do business. Kuni Sabar was sanctioned a loan of Rs 3000.
She invested the money in buying eight bags of paddy for a total of Rs 2400. She spent Rs 600 for processing this rice to be sold in the retail market and also door to door sales. She sold it at Rs 12 per kilogram and yet at the end of the month, after this hard sell, she got a return of Rs 4320. The excellent returns and after sales profit gave her a net income of Rs 1300 per month, which is around 130%. She has taken up an insurance policy for Rs 15,000 and pays a premium of Rs 25 per month and also has personal savings of Rs 25 to Rs 50 per month. She has been sanctioned a second loan and now employs two young women who sell this processed rice in the nearby town. They earn Rs 60 per day. Kuni Sabar is an example of sharing her talent and for caring for others in need.


GOKUNTE a village in Karnataka is the home of Josephine, her husband and three sons. Josephine and her husband a daily wage agricultural labourer lived on a meager income of Rs 1300. Her three sons were growing and the family demands were increasing. She had to do something to raise the family income. She knew that Gokunte lacked transportation facilities. and starting a business, which will meet the transport demands, would be profitable. Bullockcart was the answer.

The Bridge Foundation project officer identified her potential and the first loan of Rs 10,000 was sanctioned, which she invested in a bullockcart. With this she could do only two trips a day transporting grain, building material, hay from one location to the other because her bullocks were old. Josephine knew that she could increase the number of trips, if she had a strong pair of bullocks. After her loan was repaid she approached TBF for a second loan and with this she purchased a pair of sturdy and well-groomed bullocks. The number of trips was more frequent and her daily income increased from Rs 100 a day to Rs 250. She now earns Rs 6,500 per month. This enhanced her economic status, she became the decision maker in the family. In her own words "We now have a television at home. My husband works six days a week. My three children attend a good school in the town."

Josephine is able to purchase some furniture for the house. The house is neatly kept and the doorstep is washed every morning and decorated with "rangoli"-a creative design made by rural women as a sign of hospitality and prosperity.