21 year old Suresh from Warangal is the youngest member in a family that comprises his parents, 2 older brothers and sister-in-law. His father and eldestbrother are daily wage workers while his second brother is a mobiliser. Before Suresh started earning, the total family income was around Rs. 6500. When he quit his B. Pharmacy midway due to lack of interest, his brother informed him about the EyeMitra program taking place at Warangal. Suresh was informed that he would be taught everything there was to understand about one’s sight and vision. He was also told that he would be able to open his own business in this field, after completion of the course. This motivated him to join the course with the blessings of his family that encouraged him wholeheartedly because it meant that he would be doing something productive after months of restless loitering, after dropping out of college. Upon joining he course, Suresh enjoyed learning about sales and retinoscopy. He found his trainers to be helpful and good at clearing doubts of any kind. After completing the training, Suresh found it quite difficult to get a loan to set up his own shop, but after about a month of hardships, he finally managed to arrange for one lakh rupees through crowdfunding from family members.
Soon his business set off andheinitially started earning around Rs. 9000-10000 per month. He believes with hardwork and a bit of luck, he will be able to earn much more soon and use the money to pay off his loan and expand his business. He is also capable of doing eye check-ups which he does for free. Suresh has stated that LabourNet has helped him find a location for his shop, along with the rent and advance for the same.
Reaching the finish line
According to Suresh, “This course has changed my life. Mentally, I feel more mature and capable of overcoming obstacles more easily. I also feel that now I am at a stage where I can see myself settling down with a family of my own in a year or two. I get a lot of recognition from people in my community as I am the only individual from my village who has been able to start my own optical shop.” This has increased his dignity and self-respect that has led him to recommend this course to 10 more of his friends. Out of those friends, three have started their own business. He hopes that with his business, he can make the people in his village more aware about the importance of eye care.