65-year-old, Sita Thakker, cannot read or write; a widow with five daughters and a son, once a laborer working at different construction sites, Sitaben now runs property business worth millions and has journeyed across Asia and Europe.
Born in a small village named Bakhasar located on the borders of Rajasthan and Pakistan, Sitaben was occupied doing the daily household work, besides helping her mother in their home-made papad business. She never went to school. At the age of 16, Sitaben was married to Mahadev Thakker, a 32 years old man from Gujarat. Her husband was the sole breadwinner for his family but with the mere income of a few hundred rupees, it was difficult to run the households. All the while, she noticed a lot of families around her locality also struggling to cope with their finances, and one day an idea struck her. She started micro-financing the women of these families with her little monthly savings at a nominal rate, thus generating a win-win scenario for all. Soon Mahadevbhai noticed their upgraded lifestyle and welcomed the idea. Sitaben was 32 when she lost her husband. The microfinance business was not enough to support them entirely. She neither had any external support or work experience.
Sitaben moved to Gandhidham with all her children and took up a job at a construction site and admitted all her children in a government school. Sitaben with all her hard work and entrepreneurial skills set up two bungalows at Gandhidham within a decade and financed studies of all her children. She tried hands in the property rental business, which too flourished with time. Today Sitaben is the sole owner of properties worth millions in the major cities of Gujarat. It makes us wonder what marvels she could have achieved only if she were educated?
Originally published on The Optimist Citizen Newspaper (Positively Penned)