Although there is an environment of doom and gloom during the pandemic, some stories of hope restore your faith in humanity. Such is the case with 30-year-old Latha Nadukuda, a resident of Nizamabad, who has emerged as an inspiration for many young women in rural areas.
Due to her family’s financial struggles, Nadukuda had to leave school midway in Class 7. But that didn’t crush her indomitable spirit — instead, she embarked on her entrepreneurial journey by starting a tailoring business. She took a gold loan to set up a garments unit in her neighbourhood, and started creating women’s innerwear, sleepwear and house-wear, among others. With time, the word spread and she ended up with multiple B2C orders; after a point she couldn’t cope on her own and decided to build a team. Today, her business enterprise employs over 120 women from nearby villages and towns.
Shree Latha Garments and Ladies Tailors, as it is known, takes multiple orders to stitch uniforms for local government schools. Her husband, who previously worked as a home guard, had a good relationship with
the local police departments, which helped Nadukuda receive large orders for police uniforms.
Support during COVID-19
During the pandemic, Nadukuda started getting orders from local Self-Help Groups (SHGs) to make masks and PPE kits for local government and private hospitals in Hyderabad as well as other parts of Telangana. Currently, only 20 percent of the staff at Nadukuda’s setup is working from their factory; the others are working from home.
Nadukuda and her husband have made consistent efforts to empower the local women. Not only have the couple purchased a sewing machine for each of them, they have also trained them in various skills pertaining to the business. In fact, some women have also gone on to establish their own businesses.
"With the growing reputation of the products crafted by Shree Latha Garments, more government orders came in, and that’s how the business has grown substantially. During the COVID outbreak last year, all our employees were working from home and had a steady source of income, with some of them earning up to Rs. 1.5 lakh per month," Nadukuda informed.
Looking into the future
Nadukuda wants to further expand her business by taking Shree Latha Garments and Ladies Tailors to other parts of India. She was also a part of Project Her&Now's entrepreneurship support programme in Telangana in 2020. Her&Now - Empowering Women Entrepreneurs is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and in partnership with India's Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. In Telangana, the project is running in partnership with WE Hub.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)