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From washerwoman to entrepreneur: An inspiring story of a Kerala woman

Vijayalakshmi of Palakkad in Kerala.

Vijayalakshmi S of Kerala did not let a poor upbringing deter her from her goal of becoming an entrepreneur. After slogging as a washerwoman at several places for over 20 years, this 48-year-old from a village in Palakkad, Kerala has finally achieved her dream of starting her own laundry firm.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Open Digest proudly presents the story of accomplishment of Vijayalakshmi, which is truly inspiring.

Vijayalakshmi, who was born in a poor family, has overcome tremendous obstacles to achieve her dream of starting her own laundry firm called “Lakshmi Laundry” at Marutharode in Palakkad. Her parents were dhobies whose traditional occupations were washing and ironing. Vijayalakshmi, who studied till tenth standard, had to join her parents and work along with them to support the family. After marriage, she moved to Marutharode along with her husband, who is a casual labourer.

“I loved my job and have been working at several hotels and hospitals washing bed sheets and other clothes. As I worked for an agent, I used to get only Rs four for washing and ironing a bed sheet. But I never complained because I badly needed money to take care of my two children. But I had a desire to set up a laundry unit of my own. Finally, I approached the Industrial Development Center at Malampuzha expressing my wish. They helped me with all necessary project documents and arranged a loan from a bank,” Vijayalakshmi said.

She said she was happy that the officials of the industries department really helped her. “With the loan amount, I bought the machines for the laundry unit which I have set up at my home. Now I am getting Rs 30 for washing and ironing a bed sheet. I am making an income to sustain myself and repay the loan EMIs on time. As there is a space shortage at my home, I am looking for an alternate location for the unit and also to set up a collection centre in Palakkad town. I am trying to raise an additional loan of Rs 50,000 for it,” Vijayalakshmi said.

In a recent FB post, Kerala Industries Minister P Rajeev had showered praise on Vijayalakshmi for her determination in achieving her dream of starting an enterprise of her own.

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