Imagine living in a village where you have to travel 20km just to get basic news.
Pramod, age 28, used to live in a village like that. A village of 3,600 people in Maharashtra where people had to go 25km to the nearest town to read a newspaper. A year and a half ago, Promod, a farmer, started a library in his village, in a room next to his house. The library now has 125 paying members, including young people who read job ads in the newspaper (two have even found jobs as a result). And this Republic Day, students from Class 5-10 used the library to research Nehru, Gandhi and Ambedkar, and then gave short speeches in front of their classmates. Now, Promod wants to add a computer and more books and transform his library into an information hub for his village.
“Not just business, I could run the country if I wanted to.”
Preeti lives in a village in Madhya Pradesh, and is a homemaker and mother. Her husband earns Rs. 3,000 a month and she uses part of this salary for her son’s education and has been saving another part for her dream business. She wants to start a business of producing briquettes from agricultural waste that can replace firewood. Her business will save trees and provide an efficient alternative fuel. Preeti will hire 5 women to help her in her briquette unit. She says, “Education or no education, women are smart and can shine in any field they want.” She says she wants to be role model for other women in her community.
Manoj lives in a village in the hills of Uttarakhand. He went to school till 10th standard and then did his graduation through correspondence. He got a diploma in merchandising and worked in Delhi for four years. But Manoj wasn’t happy with life in the city; he wanted to go back to his village and start a business. So last year, he started a small scale camping and trekking business. He hasn’t been able to get a loan from state banks because of lack of collateral. He wants to establish a camping resort, buy tents and make a website marketing his business. He hopes his business will promote tourism and bring wealth to his village, and inspire young people who have migrated to come back to the village.
These are just some of the entrepreneurs who have called us in response to our media campaign on STAR. We will continue to tell you their stories as they go through the selection process.