All of 23, Sarhaka Lakiang is a budding entrepreneur who runs a tailoring unit from her home in Jowai in Meghalaya. Her transformational journey from an ordinary girl to an enterprising woman is an inspirational story for many women from marginalized communities. 

Born into a poor family of 7 children, Sarhaka had to discontinue her education to look after her younger siblings as her mother earned a living by working as a domestic help. A creative mind that she was, Sarhaka would redesign old un-used clothes at home. This interest of hers brought her in contact with the iLEAD Shillong center staff who encouraged her to undergo training in “Fashion Designing and Tailoring” course. Talented that she was, Sarhaka didn’t have to look back after completing her training. She got immediately placed in a boutique in Shillong from where she learnt the nuances of tailoring business. While Sarhaka was happy with the way her life was shaping up, deep down, she strongly aspired to start her own tailoring unit and help her younger siblings attain quality education and life. 

A casual follow-up visit by the iLEAD staff was a turning point in Sarhaka’s life. When she expressed her aspiration to start her unit, the staff informed her about the entrepreneurship programme offered by Aide et Action & Tata Trusts. Soon, she submitted a business plan and applied for an interest free loan of INR 42000 in 2016. After receiving the loan, she started a tailoring unit based from her home, where she takes orders from the customers in her neighbourhood. She earns Rs 4000 per month. 

Sarhaka says “I had to drop out of school because my family could not afford it but with me and my mother now earning, I hope to ensure that atleast my younger siblings can continue their education. I want to grow my business, I hope someday I will be able to set up my own boutique.