Ramya Elayaraja and Rani Murugesan are two stories of hope from Milaap’s microfinance program in India.
Ramya heads up a group of women who manufacture and sell homemade masala powder out of their homes in the village of Koothur, India. Rani also runs a home based business selling sundries like soaps, shampoos, and facial powders.
The masala business is comprised of five women, all of whom work other jobs during the day, and all of whom received microloans to launch their own business. After their regular daily jobs are complete, the women gather at Rani’s house to roast, grind, blend, and package the masala powder.
When it comes time to blend a new batch of masala, raw ingredients for the powder are purchased from local grocers. A single batch of masala powder can bring the business about four months’ worth of sales revenue. This is how Ramya uses her funds from Milaap to build her business month after month.
GROWING A MASALA BUSINESS
Word has spread about their masala powder, and the success of the business is growing. The women report that people are now coming from several blocks away as word of mouth spreads into the community. On the crowded streets of India, this type of growing publicity is no small feat.
The Village of Koothur is located in a metro area with more than one million people, 25% of whom live in the slums in and around the city. Ramya and the other women running the masala business, however, have impressively managed to grow and expand a small business under harsh economic conditions.
Demand ebbs and flows, but the women are happy to report that the five of them currently take home at least 1,000 Indian Rupees per month from the venture. The additional income of their masala business has a tremendous and transformative impact on the community where these women live and work.
MILAAP MAKES IT POSSIBLE
Milaap has a unique approach to microlending. Their mission is to make lending “personal, transparent, and sustainable.” These qualities make Milaap an ideal mission partner for Soap Hope. Together we are able to work to eliminate poverty, empower women, and support education where it is most needed, and often the hardest to come by.
All Soap Hope profits, 100% of them, are committed for a full year of service towards lifting women from poverty worldwide through organizations like Milaap. By partnering with microfinance experts like Milaap, we are able to impact the lives of even more women around the world than if we were to do the work on our own.
Your purchases at Soap Hope empower women like Ramya and Rani. It only takes one bar of soap from Soap Hope to fund a woman’s business for 2 days, and a bottle of laundry soap will fund a business for 7 days. Together, we create a lasting impact on the lives of women.
Looking for a quick and easy way to spice up your next meal? Try this DIY recipe for garam masala, courtesy of the Organic Authority:
- 2 Tablespoons cumin
- 1 Tablespoon coriander
- 1 Tablespoon cardamom
- 1 Tablespoon ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Mix ingredients and store in an airtight shaker container.