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Reshma’s story of overcoming obstacles and achieving success

by Meghna Prakash

Reshma* has outgrown her small street side stall, for her, it’s now time to expand. Reshma lives in one of the many bylanes of Madurai city, an area with a predominantly elderly population engaged in some sort of alternative business or the other to sustain themselves. Reshma is one of the residents and a famous one at that. She runs a small street side stall selling homemade, fresh Vada’s, which has earned her a reputation among the community members. Locals are in awe of her Vazhaipoo Vadai (a banana flower vada), for which she receives orders from local tea stalls as well. Reshma was a sex worker who, like several others, was deeply affected by COVID-19, both personally and financially. Being a sex worker, one cannot expect to fall back completely on the social security net. At that time, she connected with the team at Sri Lakshmi Pengal Munnetra Sangam (SLPMS) a partner of the #COVIDActionCollab (CAC), and was supported with a revolving loan. A revolving loan is similar to a pool of cash resources that Self Help Groups generally keep. Members pool their monthly savings and can dip into these, interest-free, for investment. With their support, she was able to set up her business. In a short span, her business has flourished, and she is looking forward to expanding. “I earn Rs 300-400 daily with this business. Now I want to invest in a permanent shop and expand my menu to include idli, dosa, and vada”.
Reshma faced countless challenges and losses, but she now runs a thriving business that has enabled her and her family to #BounceForward.