Sugrabi Mulani was born into an extremely poor family, but her emotional strength and presence of mind is impressive. ‘I wanted to study very desperately but maybe because of being a daughter or maybe because we were so poor, I never got a chance to do that’, she says.
Married off to a man in Gondavale village at thirteen, she worked as a daily wage labourer even as she kept having children. Sugrabi says, ’My husband was very lazy and procrastinated all the time. I wanted to have a stable source of income, especially because we had four children. I realised that if I did not start earning properly soon, my children would suffer just like I did’.
Sugrabi began by setting up a mutton shop – not without great opposition, since this is traditionally a man’s job. Undeterred, she travelled to several villages to buy goats and lambs, which she then slaughtered herself and sold. But the income was insufficient and she set up a small grocery shop and a bangle business. By then her husband had abandoned her and things were extremely difficult for a very long time as she faced relentless community and family harassment. She says it was Mann Deshi that gave her the training and support she needed.
“I got the training in financial management, which was very helpful, and the bank gave me loans to expand my business. But most of all, I met so many women and I knew I was not alone.”
Sugrabi is very proud of her achievements. She has built a home for herself and her family and educated her four children. One son is owns an auto garage that she helped set up. Another son works in a company and her older daughter is a nurse. Her youngest daughter is completing her diploma in Education.
Sugrabi’s story is that of a fighter. When we asked her how she had managed to overcome so many obstacles, she proudly said – “My courage is my capital.” Powerful words indeed. Our annual report, which takes up her slogan, is dedicated to the many women like Sugrabi who face tremendous obstacles with dignity, and inspire us all to do the same.