With a traditional loan, the lender gives you money upfront, and you pay it back in installments. A credit-builder loan works in reverse: You pay the lender monthly installments, then you get the money back at the end. You’re essentially lending yourself money, and because the payments are reported to the credit bureaus, it builds your credit.
Thanks to their occupation of rolling bidis, about 50,000 women in Solapur are keeping the fires burning in their homes, even as their men are losing jobs in the textile sector. These women, rolling bidis for about 200 branded bidi factories, have the support of the ‘bidi card’, their lifeline to credit and a host of other benefits.
These cards have helped them sustain during the crisis and raise money from formal and informal lenders as the bidi card is treated as credit in Solapur. Bidi factories offer bidi cards — a piece of paper given to women highly skilled in bidi rolling, which ensures her permanent bidi rolling work and other benefits including provident fund, bonus, and medical assistance.
Bidi rolling is manual at all stages, and scissors and threads are the only tools used to make bidis. For decades women in Solapur have been active in bidi making.