A peacock hastily crosses the road and dives into a mustard field while on the left of the road, three beautiful migratory cranes flap their wings in a pond with the setting sun in the background. Atail is a picturesque village in Rohtak, Haryana with not more than 800 families. As we zigzag our way into the village on our way to Monica’s grocery-cum- cosmetic store, we see 29-year-old Monica busy with customers. “There is always somebody coming for something,” says Monica arranging toy birds that are a favourite among the kids in her village.

Monica tells us earlier she used to spend her days watching television or doing the monotonous household chores but these days, she has a purpose to wake up. She says, “From the moment I wake up I am excited for the day ahead. I clean up the store and get ready for my customers.”

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Monica had wanted to open a store for a very long time but was contemplating, as she knew it would be a big risk and did not want to fail in front of her family. “It was only with the support and encouragement of Humana People to People India (HPPI) that I have finally fulfilled my dream.”

In June 2018, Monica attended the Disha start- up training by HPPI and prior to that had taken entrepreneurial development training from the Rural Self Employment Training Institute, Kharawar, Haryana.

Upon making up her mind and backed with her family’s support, Monica invested Rs. 10,000 independently and took a loan of Rs. 50,000 from the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, a the flagship scheme of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship. With an average monthly income of Rs. 8-9,000, she has so far paid two instalments of her Equated Monthly Instalment (EMI) and has increased the stock of her store by adding more products such as apparels, toys, shoes, children’s clothes and baby products.

Talking about the change in her life post starting to earn her own income, Monica says, “There is no joy compared to being self-dependent. Even if I earn two rupees, it is a very empowering feeling. It is my money. I do not have to ask my husband for money, even if it is to get something for my children.”

Monica focuses on her behaviour with her customers and makes an instant connection, something we saw in her as she was showing baby clothes to one of her customers. She gave them time, her expert opinion of what quality would be great considering the winter season and gave them updates about new upcoming stock in the coming week. Monica is the face of the modern-day woman entrepreneur who manages her home and her enterprise with a big, bright smile and someone who sees her worth in the eyes of her children and family when she says, “My children now feel even their mother is someone important, it is not only just their father. I hope I can be an inspiration to them.”

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About HPPI

Humana People to People India is a development organization registered as a not-for-profit company under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 as of 21st May 1998. It is a non-political, non-religious organization. Its mission is to unite with people in India in order to create development in the broadest sense through the implementation of the projects that aim at transferring knowledge, skills and capacity to individuals and communities who need assistance to come out of poverty and other dehumanizing conditions.

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