Renewable Energy for Entrepreneurship
Ranomal lives with a joint family of fifteen at Village Malo Dhani near Naukot. Ranomal had a dream to study and become a teacher, but he could not fulfil his dream because his family was poor and he had to work at a young age. His father also used to work on agricultural fields to provide for the family.
“I was thirteen and did labour work all day and would get Rs. 50 to buy food for our family” says Ranomal. “I got married in my early twenties. As family expenses increased, I went to Karachi to work in a garment factory. The factory was in a polluted area and the hygiene conditions were also bad. I worked there for six years and fell ill. I suffered from kidney stones and my chest was also badly affected. I was admitted to Civil Hospital in Karachi. Those were very critical days for my family. We had no savings and due to his old age, my father could not work. My wife used to make pillow and mattress covers and sell them to meet our expenses.
After about a year I recovered and my health improved. I came back to my village. I was surprised to see that my wife had built a good Pillow and Mattress Cover business. She used to sew them with her hands. I had also learnt sewing when I was in Karachi. I thought if we buy a sewing machine we could both make more products in a shorter time and earn more money. I was aware of Thardeep Microfinance loans. I went to their office and applied for a Rs. 25,000 loan.
After a week my loan got sanctioned and I went straight to the market to buy a sewing machine and other raw material. I had good market connections and I knew where to sell in bulk and where to buy raw material. In a short time our business started to grow.
I was getting bulk orders but due to shortage of machines and workers I was not able to deliver them on time. I applied for another loan of Rs. 30,000 from Thardeep Microfinance and bought two more machines and also employed two workers. My business was booming. By the start of 2015, five years after we started, I was able to setup 15 sewing machines and employ 15 workers. Everything was going well but electricity was a big issue. Power cuts were a big problem. Our electricity bill was about Rs. 15,000 per month and during load shedding we relied on a generator for which we spent around Rs. 30,000 per month on diesel. One day a Thardeep Microfinance employee came to us and told us about their Solar Financing. I thought renewable energy is the only solution to our problem. I received solar financing worth Rs. 250,000 from Thardeep Microfinance and we installed the solar setup without wasting a moment. Now after installing solar power, we don’t even know when there are power cuts and my workers can also work in night shifts.”
Ranomal said that he was able to achieve this success because of his wife who started the business, his magnificent team of workers, and his own belief, determination and desire to succeed.