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.
Access to microcredit can contribute to the liberation and empowerment of women, giving them recognized social responsibility and including them in the labour market.
Many families in the rural and semi-urban areas of Uttar Pradesh (UP) benefit from microcredit. UP is one of India’s poorest states. It has a population of 200 million – as large as Brazil’s. Economic growth in the state is 6%, versus 8% in India as a whole.