It’s a busy day at Mandaveli Market where three women sitting on the aisle, display their spread of fishes and announce in different frequencies the catches for the day.
Meet Kumari, the neighborhood fish vendor from Mandaveli. This 44 year old woman, is filled with undying energy and has a sphere of positivity around her. She says her character is a mere reflection of Namma Chennai and its people. She’s a third generation fisher woman and takes pride in identifying any fish that is caught! She gets her daily stock of fish, prawns and crabs from the Kasimedu and Koyambedu fish markets. Of the 30 years that she’s been selling fish for a living, it was during the times when she was running short of monetary funds to run her family, she experienced long months of toil.
The sea food industry, usually has a seasonal off, where the fishermen are not allowed to go into the sea during the breeding season. Kumari says,”These are the months when I am worst hit and left with no options to generate income from any source. My entire family is forced to live on two meals per day. It was around this time that I had joined an all women self- help group where Equitas Bank helped me during my absolute lows and gave me loans so I could manage my expenses. I’ve already taken multiple cycles of loan as they are very supportive during the time of repayment.”
She is able to effectively earn around 2000-3000 per day after she has taken a loan. She aspires to have a big shop very soon!
People like Kumari are slowly breaking out of the societal stereotypes and are the emerging changemakers, who stay positive at all times and never give up!