The ‘Fortunate’ one in Channapatna

Her name is 'Saubhagya' meaning the fortunate one. Can any work be more satisfying and fortunate than a work which brings smile on the face of a crying child? This is Saubhagya's story.

Saubhagya was born is a humble farming family. Married 7 years ago to Nagendra, she stays in Channapatna with her family . Channapatna is a town located 60 km south-west of Bangalore, on Bangalore-Mysore state highway. In the native language (kannada), Channapatna is also called as "Gombegala Ooru" meaning toys town in English. These toys are manufactured in traditional or advanced small scale industries. This traditional craft is protected as a geographical indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization, administered by the Government of Karnataka. The origin of these toys can be traced to the reign of Tipu Sultan who invited artisans from Persia to train the local artisans in the making of wooden toys.

Saubhagya's day begins with cooking food for her family of five and sending her 5-year-old son Yuvraj to school. She finishes her household chores by 11 in the morning and joins her husband in making toys. A very proud Nagendra recalls how Saubhagya learnt the techniques of woodcraft within two months of her marriage wherein it takes years for newbies to master the art. “Now her nimble fingers do better craft than him or his employees”, says the proud husband looking at the blushing wife.

The couple came to know about Ujjivan through their neighbour who had taken a loan from there. They got their 1st group loan of `8,000 in 2009. Since then, she took two more group loans amounting to `15,000 each and `30,000 in her 4th cycle. After finishing four group loan cycles she graduated to individual lending by getting `70,000 which she used for buying 4 more lathe machines for her second manufacturing unit.

Summarizing her journey in Ujjivan Small Finance Bank from `8000 to `70,000 she says 'My standard of living and business have grown constantly with each increase in the loan amount , Ujjivan Small Finance Bank trusted me when it gave me a loan amount which was more than double the previous cycle loan amount (`30,000 to `70,000). I will never break Ujjivan Small Finance Bank's trust ''. She is expecting a loan amount exceeding `1,00,000 in her next loan cycle.

Saubhagya and Nagendra with the help of their savings and loan amount in the due course of time have set up two workshops with 8 and 4 lathes in each. They employ 4-10 craftsmen depending on the orders received. They sell the items to the local suppliers who in turn export most of the craft to countries like Japan, Germany, US etc. The average earning of the family after deducting costs comes to `25,000-30,000 per month. Replying to why they don’t open a lacquer ware shop which would considerably increase their income, Nagendra replies 'I am a crafts man, not a businessman'. The family is happy with the work they are doing and leave it on their son to choose his profession.