During these tough times  I was struggling, distressed and did not have any stable source of income. This is when the Returnable Grant came to my rescue.”

Fatima encountered many Pandemic induced ups and downs before she could conquer a state of being independent and having a reasonable growth in her business. She is a beauty entrepreneur based in Sangam Vihar of Delhi.

“People were scared to come to the parlour and instead started calling parlour services at home. And even when people started going out they were more comfortable taking parlour services at my home rather than visiting my parlour. And few who were coming to the parlour were getting their towels or band for their safety and hygiene,” says Fatima on the impact of COVID-19 on her business.  

Before the pandemic, she was also  conducting beauty training sessions and provided a 6-month training session with 2 hours of class every day and charge a fee of Rs 500 for each trainee. Everything was going on smoothly in her life until COVID-19 engulfed her in unexpected turmoil and havoc. She had to close her training centre because trainees stopped showing up for the sessions. As a result, a source of stable income began crippling. “Even if 4-5 children would take my session I could pay off my rent,” says Fatima. 

With reduced customers, the income started dangling and soon Fatima didn’t have enough to run her business. This is when she got in touch with Dhriiti, a social enterprise based in Delhi. It was here that she was provided a Returnable grant in the form of zero-interest loan with the intention of helping her to restart her lost business. 

Fatima used the money and training efficiently. She took advantage of this opportunity and started brushing up on her beautician skills through the training sessions conducted by Dhriiti. The returnable grant helped her reshape her business and also assisted her to venture into the business of cosmetics. “The process of procuring returnable grant was easy and comfortable as we had no such condition of providing a guarantor, no compulsion of visiting the bank, no fixed amount to pay back and zero-interest. There were no compulsions or boundations. This was of the best facility provided through returnable grant,” she adds.  

With the support that she received from Dhriiti, Fatima was able to take the first leap toward income stabalisation post pandemic. She opened a parlour near her home.  “My mentors at Dhriiti suggested that I open a beauty training centre as I was good at providing training and I had previously trained many young students,” recalls Fatima. “It’s a big parlour compared to my previous one, which was quite small. The previous one had no cosmetic business and could accommodate only one chair with a small counter,” she adds.

The bigger facility not only provided her with enough space to run her parlour but also supported her with apt space to conduct her training sessions. “My spacious parlour has definitely helped me increase my business”, Fatima happily remarks.  

Even though Fatima received a small returnable grant amount, she says it was sufficient enough for her to kickstart her life and business. It gave her the confidence and strength to stand on her feet and took her on the road of being financially independent. Since she had repaid the entire amount, her credit score has helped her enter the formal system of banking, and increased her awareness of banking and loan schemes. Fatima desires to train as many young students as she can and take her parlour to great heights.
The money that we received helped us in some way or another. The strength that ignited in us gave us the hope that we will be able to help and grow our business,” adds Fatima.

This story was editorialised by Avantika Seth