Suguna is a 37-year old mother of two teenage daughters. She lives with her husband, a worker in a local steel plant. Although he does a dangerous and strenuous job, he earns only a meagre and inconsistent income. To earn some money for the family, Suguna started working as a wage labourer on neighbourhood farms. So did other women in her community, and later they joined hands in a women’s self-help-group.

Suguna took her first loan from ECLOF in 2007. Combined with her savings, it enabled her to buy a small piece of land of 0.2 hectares. She then trained her family members to help her in the cultivation. She cultivates off-season vegetables like bitter guard, ladies-finger or capsicum. That has allowed her to earn a continuous income throughout the year. She started using the latest irrigation technologies and timely pest control to optimize and secure the crops. Vegetable vendors and retailers collect her products directly at the farm, saving her transport cost. Later she used an ECLOF loan to lease more land adjacent to hers. In the meantime Suguna employs three women to work with her.

Today her struggle for mere survival is over. As a successful women entrepreneur, she has gained confidence and determination, and she is planning to expand further. She says with a smile full of pride and hope, “I am so grateful to ECLOF India for its helping hand during these years. I could never imagine that one day, I would have so much income and respect from my community. Coming from a vulnerable group, I am now an example of fierce determination and dignity. And for this, I and my family are thankful forever.”