In 2018, Muskan joined ETASHA’s Women Entrepreneurship Program with a vision for a better life. Three years later, her story is one of triumph over adversity, resilience, and the unwavering support of ETASHA Society. Muskan, alongside her co-owner Suman, established the first business, Noor Mahila Udyog where ETASHA played a pivotal role in empowering them to establish a sustainable business by offering guidance and suggesting the creative concept of handmade soap production. This initiative not only fostered entrepreneurship but also contributed to the economic well-being of the individual.
Muskan and Suman together crafted handmade soaps using natural ingredients like aloevera, neem, honey etc. Of course, the challenges were immense – the weight of providing for her family intensified when her husband lost his job at the onset of the pandemic. Muskan, now the primary breadwinner for her three young children, found solace and strength through her work. Tragedy struck when Muskan was diagnosed with arthritis, compounding the challenges she faced with pre-existing asthma. Despite debilitating health setbacks, Muskan pressed on. There were days when getting out of bed or swallowing food became monumental tasks and every hard-earned rupee went into purchasing medicines and materials for her burgeoning businesses.
ETASHA Society’s Women Entrepreneurship Program not only equipped her with essential skills but provided a network of encouragement and resources. With a helpful nano interest-free loan of Rs. 6000, Muskan started her own business. But that’s not all—she underwent training in learning soap making and acquired other crucial entrepreneurial skills, such as managing accounts, connecting with markets, and accessing digital payment methods. Her entrepreneurial spirit didn’t stop with soap making; she single-handedly opened another business, selling toys with the knowledge she gained from selling handmade soaps, all while fulfilling her household duties.
Recognizing Muskan’s potential, ETASHA extended assistance, enabling her to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship despite health adversities. Muskan’s story is a testament to the transformative power of empowerment programs. Her resilience in the face of personal and professional challenges showcases the impact of a supportive community.
Today in the realm of Muskan’s aspirations, the picture of her thriving business is beautifully painted— a sturdy pillar that not only sustains her family’s basic needs for food and clothing but also provides the financial foundation to secure her children’s tuition fees. Her business income has increased significantly—from a three-digit figure to a five-digit one every month. However, Muskan still faces challenges due to her physical limitations, which restrict her ability to move around and create obstacles in running her business.
In Muskan’s own words, “My only wish is to provide a better life for my family.” She embodies the strength to persevere, and by supporting her, we collectively pave the way for countless other women to rise above adversity and build a brighter future. In the spirit of collective empowerment, we invite you to be a part of the entrepreneurial journey of other women like Muskan. Your contribution, no matter how small, can make a significant difference in helping them overcome obstacles and continue providing support for their family. Together, we can amplify Muskan’s impact, paving the way for other women facing similar struggles.
To support many more women like Muskan, please visit: https://www.etashasociety.org/donate/
Author: This blog has been written by Itisha Saxena, an intern from the Soil Institute of Management.