Nirmla Sohal

Nirmla Sohal

Smt. Nirmla Sohal, a 41-year-old widow from Bhuner Panchayat in Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh, encountered a drastic shift in her life in 2008. She lost her husband, the late Shri Kuldeep Sohal, who was the former Pradhan of the Bhuner Gram Panchayat. They had married in 1999, and Nirmla had been active in CORD’s Mahila Mandal and Self-Help Group, where she learned Tilla embroidery. The untimely demise of her husband due to a heart attack left her as the sole caretaker of their 6-year-old son, with no sustainable income except for a small piece of ancestral land.

Motivated by the Chinmaya Balla Mahila Mandal, Nirmla, who had previous sewing training, decided to start a tailoring business. Her plan, shared at a Mahila Mandal meeting, received support and led to a loan from the Chinmaya Shiv Self-Help Group.

With a Rs. 50,000 loan, Smt. Nirmla established a small tailoring shop near her home, generating income for domestic needs. Ambitious to provide quality education for her son, she repaid her first loan and secured a second one of Rs. 40,000 to expand her business into a boutique. This venture brought additional income, enhancing her self-reliance.

Her son, currently pursuing B.Tech., also runs a part-time ready-made garment shop, supported by a Rs. 25,000 loan that Nirmla had taken to help him. Additionally, she receives a widow’s pension. Now a successful entrepreneur, Smt. Nirmla inspires fellow Mahila Mandal members with her journey, earning between Rs. 15,000 to 18,000 monthly. She is grateful to the CORD team for their role in her journey towards self-reliance.