Sonamati's story


Sonamati Devi, an older member of Rakasia group #236, has taken 6 loans from her SHG. 

Sonamati, a widow, runs a mobile shop. She moves through the village, selling items such as vegetables, biscuits, and small cosmetics.

Financially, Sonamati is comfortable enough to support her daughter, but her Rojiroti loans have been helpful to access cash quickly, and it’s kept her from using up her savings.

Sonamati used three of her loans, in the amount of 50-100 rupees, to purchase supplies from the town market to be resold in Rakasia.

Her daughter is recently widowed, and one of the loans Sonamati took, for Rs. 100, was to visit her son-in-law in the hospital, shortly before his death. Sonamati had been supporting her daughter and son-in-law with her income, helping to keep them from the grips of local moneylenders by providing some of her own income for his treatments.

If not for a 400 rupee loan from Rojiroti, it would have been difficult for Sonamati and her daughter to collect the 10,000 rupee government death benefit following the son-in-law’s death. Timely access to even relatively small credit ensured that Sonamati could travel to the official office where the paperwork must be submitted and money can be collected. This trip often requires taxing travel, unnerving waits, excessive paperwork, or other general bureaucratic aggravations for the rural poor. 

Sonamati took another loan for Rs. 220 after she broke her leg. When we spoke she was still recovering and using a large stick for assistance in walking. She had requested a larger external loan from Rojiroti on short notice to help pay for her medical treatment, but the loan was not granted. She was upset that the credit didn’t become available, but she emphasized that she never considered leaving the group or discounting the importance of Rojiroti to her livelihood. In the end, she used a portion of the 10,000 rupees from her son-in-law’s death benefit to pay for her care.

Sonamati noted that she will need follow-up treatment for her leg in the near-future. At this point in the discussion the rest of the group chimed in, asking her, “Where will you get the money to repay that loan?” This started a dialog among them that revealed Sonamati had sold some of her goods to her customers on credit and has receivable amounts outstanding that she expects to be arriving in the future.