Chandra standing in front of bricks.

Chandra – The Brick Manufacturer

“It’s not an easy job. There is so much expenditure involved. We have to pay the labourers, provide them with food, not to forget the costs involved in collecting and transporting the raw materials that are needed to prepare the kiln,” says Chandra.

The 27-year-old is ending another long day of overseeing the brick kiln. In a few days, the readied bricks will be sold to a local contractor and it will only be a matter of time before Chandra and her husband start the arduous process of brick-making once again. Each brick is sold for INR 3 (USD 0.06) and depending on the order placed, Chandra sells anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 bricks a month. Chandra has been assisting her husband in the family’s brick-making enterprise.

With little formal education and no entrepreneurial training, people like Chandra often find it difficult to deal with the challenges that come with running an enterprise. When Hand in Hand launched its intervention in her village at Thalikkal, Chandra joined the Venkatesh Self-Help Group.

“As an Self-Help Group member I learnt how to manage my finances better; how I could take a loan and strengthen my family’s enterprise,” she recollects.

And that’s precisely what she has done. The loan of INR 15,000 (USD 300) that she took was used to procure and transport more raw materials and employ more people. With more raw materials and a larger workforce, the family-based enterprise began reaping profits.

“Thanks to Hand in Hand, today our profits can sometimes reach even INR 20,000 (USD 400).”

Thalikkal, Tamil Nadu, India