“If you are born poor, then it is not your fault, but if you are poor even dying, then it is your fault.” – Bill Gates
Till 1981, after picking up the garbage from the streets for a day, barely earned five rupees a day. Manjula Vaghela, As per 2015 figures, her annual turnover was around Rs 1 crore. She is working as the head of the Cleaners’ Co-operative today and truly narrates the story from the rags to the plains. This institution today has 400 members. The Cleaners Co-operative today provides reliable cleaning and housekeeping facilities to 45 institutions and societies in Gujarat.
Manjula is never afraid of hard work, even when she could earn less than five rupees. Their day starts with getting up early in the morning. She comes out with a big bag in her hand and separates the recycling materials from the garbage thrown by the people. Collect all these things and sell the reusable items to the junk person.
It was all going on like this. One day a new chapter in Manjula’s life opens when she meets Ila Ben Bhatt, the founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association. She helps Manjula in the creation of the 40-member Shree Beauty Cleaning Utkarsh Mahila Seva Sahakari Mandali Limited. Raising this business was a challenge in itself and a big mountain broke on it when Manjula’s husband left behind a son and left this world. But even this incident did not frighten Manjula from her path.
Manjula held her business target and there was nothing for anyone to say and no one could separate Manjula from it. Soon the beauty troupe got their first client, the National Institute of Design. She started her services to institutes, homes and organizations at national and international level. She also provided cleaning services to the International Event Vibrant of Gujarat.
The beauty troupe collecting garbage from the rags had now come a long way. They also use a lot of modern equipment and technology such as high-jet pressure, micro-fibre mops, scrubbers, extractors, floor cleaners, road cleaners, etc. Nowadays large companies and organizations issue e-tenders for cleaning work and contracts which is a bit difficult for the congregation. To solve this problem, she is hiring people who have knowledge of all these things.
In the midst of all this, Manjula used to take care that her son’s childhood did not pass like her childhood and that she should accumulate enough money for her son’s medical school. She is also honoured by his college for the incredible story of Manjula and her son’s struggle.
Coming from a scarcity background, Manjula, who was married off at an early age, took full responsibility of the house after her husband’s death. She not only started her own business but also took responsibility for women like her and took care of her son’s education. Today, Manjula, handling the business of one crore rupees, reflects the fact – “Difficulties often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary success.”