Chandni, age 22, has been married for four years. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Saidapur, a village 40 minutes away from Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh located between Delhi and Calcutta.
Two and a half years ago, shortly after their first daughter was born, the family found itself in financial trouble. Chandni’s husband, a farm labourer, didn’t have a regular job. His earnings were too low to cover their basic needs, i.e., healthcare, food, housing and education. That same year, a visit by a Sonata employee whose role is to go from door to door to acquaint village-dwellers with microcredit was to initiate a decisive change in the young woman’s life.
At age 19, Chandni borrowed 40,000 rupees (c. €585) from Sonata with the aim of starting her own business – a grocery shop. She discussed it with her husband and relatives. Everyone encouraged her to go ahead.