Ms. Bimala Rai, our empowerment journey candidate from Rampur, Udaypur is actively involved in the promotion of Improved Cookstoves (ICS) with her business partner, Ms. Kalpana Rai. Since our meeting, few months back, Bimala has installed about 200 ICS. “There is growing demand and together with Kalpana we can install six to seven ICS per day in areas where houses are closer. We charge five euro for each installation. To help us meet the demand in time, we have even employed five non-salaried helpers. There is still demand of at least 1,000 ICS in my working area. This is good for us”. The enthusiasm oozing from the duo is infectious.
The shy lady of March 2016 is today noticeably confident. One could hardly hear her voice then, but today she is seen voicing her opinion at meetings and in conversations with her clients. Together, the ICS entrepreneur duo has extended their ICS services as active dealers of the metallic components of ICS in neighbouring villages of the district. Besides installation work, they have already sold around 850 ICS metallic components in the area through other stove masters.
Ms. Bimala stated ‘We have a joint account in the cooperative; we deposit our overall income from the ICS business in this account. The money is used as an investment fund, mainly to place orders for the ICS metallic components.’ Reiterating this, the Executive Secretary of Shayogi Bachhat Tatha Reen Sahakari Sanstha Ltd, the local financial institution, who states: “We are pleasantly surprised with the way the duo stove entrepreneurs have dedicated themselves to the stove business and the overall outcome. We provided a loan of around 2,500 euro, which they have already repaid. To date they have an appreciable savings which will sustain their business in the days to come. Their performance has encouraged us to promote additional women in this sector as well has provide necessary loans for their work if necessary. We are proud of the duo and confident in lending in the energy sector as well as to women”.