Unless you were sleeping under a rock the past few months, you cannot have missed the devastation caused by the Chennai Floods. People lost their lives, they were stranded without food and water and everything in their homes got washed away. There were many local entrepreneurs like the tailor, the dhobiwalla, the roadside bakery owner, whose entire livelihoods were swept away. After the water cleared, these people found that their machines had been broken or washed away and that they had no way of getting back on their feet. The city seemed to be recovering around them and companies, schools and colleges were back to work. The Facebook posts soon stopped and the food distribution and other relief work slowed down. However, our entrepreneurs didn’t have a chance of getting back to their normal lives anytime soon.
We at Bringing Smiles saw these people all around us and we knew we needed to do something to help them. If they could just get that small initial capital to jumpstart their business, (to buy and repair machines) they would be able to help themselves out of their situation. So, we set about speaking to people and telling them about the problems that these friendly neighbourhood faces were facing and tried to get funding and support. Everyone responded enthusiastically by contributing money and offering other help too. We soon had a handsome amount of money which we decided to give out as interest-free loans because if they managed to give the money back then we could use it to help even more people.
What follows will be a series of blog posts on the stories of these people who are being helped by our loans and are all ready to set up shop again.