A little boost to become the wind beneath her wings

Story type
Case story

Being able to earn an income is exciting but more than the thrill, it is the enabling factor—of being able to take care of certain expenses and spend on things that matter to one—that surpasses everything else. This is what 35-year-old Manjula, a homemaker in Athkur village of Karnataka’s Raichur district, felt when the opportunity came knocking at her door to earn some money through a business for which WaterAid India supported the SHG that she was a member.


Reminiscing about the times when her life solely revolved around her home, Manjula said that she is happy to have transitioned from being ‘just a housewife’ to someone ‘who runs a business’. Manjula’s SHG, which has 11 members, was approached by WaterAid India in association with Water.Org to start a business making and selling cleaning products. It was initially met with hesitation and self-doubt, but when they were told that they would be provided with the training and handholding support to begin the journey, the women agreed.


“We attended the training of production (of cleaning products) in Mysore,” Manjula said, “After the training, we were provided with the raw materials by WaterAid India and we began making floor cleaners and liquid hand wash.” Sani entrepreneurship was thus born.


The production cost of each bottle of cleaning product is INR 19 which the women sell in the shops for INR 50. “We maintain a log book of how many bottles are sold each day and the money earned. While the initial batch of raw materials was provided to us, we are now able to source these things on our own now. We use a part of our earnings and put in a little additional amount and buy the raw material,” she said.

The ability to manage a business, earn and manage finances, and negotiate with people, has boosted women’s confidence and Manjula said that they now also take orders to stitch things like aprons, masks, and caps with the help of a sewing machine that they have. This also helps them earn an additional income.

“When we started, we did not know where we will reach. Right now we are making a decent profit,” Manjula said, “There was a time when I used to sit at home, idle, and now I am earning an income with the help of Sani. I am very happy."