When dreams turn into reality

Story type
Case story

Until a few years back, Lalitha was satisfied being a home maker—taking care of her family and the household while her husband went to work. But what if she could do more? Be self-reliant? Eager to grab on an opportunity to see if she could change her future, she therefore took on the role of the head cook in the government school in her village in Karnataka’s Raichur district. Although the pay was nominal, it was thrilling to be able to earn on her own and supplement the family income. It also made her aspire for more. This is when an opportunity to open her own shop came in, thanks to an intervention by WaterAid India in association with Water.Org in her village, Deosugur.


Lalitha is a member of her village SHG where they discuss finances and ways to improve their lives. WaterAid’s intervention with messages on safe water, sanitation, and hygiene however redirected the women’s discussions to include these subjects as well. They realised that without health, everything else can come to naught. If one were to fall ill often because of a lack of hygiene, medical expenditures could become high and their productivity could come down. Children’s growth could be impacted and they would be unable to achieve their full potential.


Along with this, WaterAid India also gave financial assistance of INR 10,000 to the Self Help Group to be able to help any woman who would want to start their own business. Lalitha immediately sought that opportunity.


“I took the loan of INR 10,000 from the group and, with some additional amount, opened my own shop,” she said, “Here, I began to sell things like face masks, sanitary napkins, floor cleaners, soaps—things that promote hygiene.”

With a heightened sense of awareness of the importance of sanitation and hygiene, Lalitha’s sales picked up quickly. “I began earning INR 100-200 easily every day. This, in addition to my job as a cook, means that I am able to earn a decent amount to be able to support my family,” she said happily. Talking about her daily schedule, Lalitha said that she goes to school after finishing her household chores in the morning and then goes to her shop. The fact that she is able to improve her family’s quality of life encourages her to go on.

“We are a dual-income family now,” she said, satisfied, “I feel confident and happy to be able to do something to make all our lives better than before.”