Money and success without any formal education
She has not gone beyond the fourth grade, but Maltiben Chaudhary, a rural woman from a Pratapur village in Gujarat, India is a rich woman today. Rich and successful inspite of the fact that she is not fluent in either English or Hindi, two languages that are considered important in India today. The only language she speaks fluently is her mother tongue – Gujarati. And if these disadvantages were not enough, she had another very big one…she married early, at the age of 16, a fate common for rural women. Strangely, all these ‘misfortunes’ worked in her favour.
As there wasn’t enough money to feed the family (her husband was physically challenged) she started to earn meagre amounts by stitching clothes. And one day bought two buffaloes from her savings. In her own words:
“Due to financial constraints in my family, I thought of doing something on my own but at that time I did not have any money to start a business. I stitched clothes for village women and saved a meagre Rs 80 (less than $2). I bought two famished buffaloes from the money way back in 1971 and started a milk business.”
That was more than thirty years ago. Today Maltiben is one of India’s most famous entrepreneurs, a toast of prestigious management institutions like the world-famous IIM’s and a darling of the media. She is 62 now and runs a very successful dairy business as part of the Mehsana Milk Cooperative. Her earnings per month? Almost a lakh of rupees monthly ($2268).
But how did she do it? By simple hard work and dedication. She looked after her two buffaloes like her own children. She used to add jaggery and salt to their feed, bathe them herself and spend hours with them if they were sick. This made her the butt of jokes in the village, but she did not care. And when her buffaloes won the first prize during a rally in Mehasana, the laughter started to fade away. In fact soon the villagers started to come to her for advise, not just on nutrition but on how to treat their animals if they fell sick!
Today, Maltiben supplies 300 litres of milk to the milk cooperative, owns several hectares of farmland, 18 cows and two buffaloes. She is also on the board of directors of the biggest milk cooperative in the region.
You can read more about her at (1), (2), (3) and (4).
(Pictures sourced from nif.org and the honeybeenetwork)