19 years back Sulochana Ramakrishnan came to Laloor along with her husband Ramakrishnan and two children, hospital Nisha and Neethu. Ramakrishnan was a daily wage earner and Sulochana used to work as a domestic help for various households nearby. In 1997, online
when the family was slowly adjusting to the demands of life, the unexpected demise of Ramakrishnan derailed their plans. Sulochana and her children were left in the lurch, but they were determined not to succumb to fate. Elder daughter Nisha first learnt the art of umbrella making along with her studies. But her earnings barely met the needs of the family. At last, all three of them learnt the art of umbrella making and made efforts to expand their business. But the major challenge was to get the capital required.
In 2006, Sreeragam sangam was formed in Laloor under Thrissur branch and Sulochana became a member of ESAF Microfinance. Collateral free loans at relatively low interest rates attracted her to ESAF. On July 19, 2007, Sulochana got her first loan of Rs 8,000/- and this did wonders for her business. She started buying raw materials directly, in addition to the accessories sourced from outside agencies. As she was prompt in repaying the loans, availing the second and third cycles of loan (Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,000 respectively) was relatively easy. She has also availed educational loan for her younger daughter Neethu, who is in plus two. Sulochana has big dreams of giving her the best education possible. Yes, the change in Sulochana’s fortunes is clearly visible to all. Instead of a house thatched with coconut palm leaves (sans any walls), she now owns a house with four walls and tiled roofs. She has acquired all the household articles necessary to make the life of her family comfortable. She has no one else to thank but ESAF Microfinance….