Finding a source of happiness

Story type
Case story

When she was working as a daily wage earner, managing work in the fields and at home, along with the responsibility of a toddler, would sometimes overwhelm 26-year-old Renuka of Gadhar village in Karnataka’s Raichur district. Then, about five months back, she opened a shop in front of her house. Things were going well, but slowly until an intervention by WaterAid India and Water.Org to train Self Help Groups in making cleaning products changed the pace altogether.


Clean drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene are essential to health. And aides, such as cleaning products, help in maintaining that. Hand washing, for example, is important—especially after using the toilet, before and after eating food—but not just with water. One must use soap or a hand wash to clean their hands properly.


When Renuka and the other women of the Self Help Group that she is part of were therefore told about the initiative of training them to make different cleaning products so they could sell them—and their significance—she was eager to learn. “I and the other Self Help Group women got the training of making floor cleaner, hand wash by the organisation (WaterAid). We were then provided with the initial batch of raw material to start production,” Renuka said. Ever since there has been no looking back.


Far from the times when she would have to do extreme physical labour in the fields or be unable to earn as much as she had expected from the shop, Renuka has now been able to increase her earnings by a satisfactory margin. “Initially I was earning just INR 500 per month (profit) from my shop, but now I am earning around INR 1000-2000,” she said.

A big contributing factor pushing sales is the increase in awareness about WASH and its significance on health among the community members after WaterAid’s efforts in sensitising them on the subject. “Now people are more conscious about keeping themselves, their houses and their surroundings clean,” Renuka said, “Therefore they are more keen to buy our cleaning products.”

Along with Renuka, her mother-in-law too is a part of the SHG and therefore runs the shop along with her. Both women are happy with the turn in their earnings. “Now I am able to earn well and take care of the house and my children too. I am a businesswoman!” Renuka said.