$25 to Restock a Microbusiness with Spices

With a small donation, you can help spice up a tiny business in the slums of Mumbai. Your gift can enable a woman to access microfinance and purchase and sell everything from tamarind to chili powder, giving her family the taste of opportunity.

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Shamin Sheikh, spice vendor and client of Accion partner Swadhaar FinServe, Mumbai, India

A two-year client of Accion partner Swadhaar FinServe in Mumbai, Shamin Sheikh was on her third loan, for 10,000 rupees (US $225), when Accion first visited. Shamin runs a small masala – spice – shop in the city’s Kherwadi market, drawing passers-by with the vibrant reds and yellows, and pungent smells, of chili peppers and powder, tamarind, cumin, and pickled lemons and mangos, to name just a few.

Formerly a tutor, she first borrowed from Swadhaar to launch her new venture, guessing – accurately, as it turned out – that it might be more lucrative. Despite the long hours – 9am to 10pm every day – it does much to augment her husband’s work in a local hotel, and allows her to pay the school fees for her 5- and 12-year-old children. What, we wondered, had been the biggest change in her life since launching her new business? “Freedom,” she answered in a word – the chance to see and engage with the world in a way that tutoring work at home had never allowed.

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