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On a narrow winding road in the interior areas of Yelahanka, Bangalore, Lakshmidevi runs a tiny shop selling sarees and blouse material. Her shop is easy to find – just look for the brightly coloured sarees hanging on a line alongside a matching array of chips packets.
A series of unfortunate events in Lakshmidevi’s life led to her becoming an entrepreneur. Following her son’s failed shamiana business and husband’s stroke, Lakshmi started a small business from home by selling sarees to temples where they are used to decorate the deities. As sales improved, she looked to expand, and with a loan from IIFL Samasta, Lakshmidevi rented a small shop with larger stock of sarees and blouse material. Business is doing well, she says, and her customers are largely devotees visiting temples. She also sells chips to hungry passers by.

Lakshmidevi’s income helped pull the family out of their financial distress and has improved their living standards.They built their own home and the business is doing well, she said. Lakshmidevi’s daughter-in-law is studying for a M.A. and plans to work after graduation, and her son is now an auto driver. While her husband has recovered physically, he is still unable to speak.

Lakshmidevi’s grandson, Niranjan, a bright-eyed boy with a wide smile, spends his school holidays with his grandparents in the shop, and proudly says he dusts and helps keep the shop tidy. He is a good student and will be going to std. 4 once school reopens in June. His grandmother wants him to study hard and have a promising future. “I want to be an astronaut,” Niranjan says.
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