Lata Dattaram Hulavale -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Lata Dattaram Hulavale

Lata Dattaram Hulavale works at her sewing machine, which provides her with an income and confidence that she can make her monthly house payments.


Lata Dattaram Hulavale lives with her parents and two brothers in a three-room house. The rooms are lined up in a row so that you have to pass through each one to get to the next. Behind the house is a tiny courtyard that is hardly big enough for an extra bucket of water and a few cakes of cow dung drying for fuel.

Twenty years ago, Lata was hit by a truck as she was carrying a jug of water across the road to her home. Her leg had to be amputated.

Lata’s mother Phulabai has been concerned about where Lata will live after Phulabai and her husband die. Their house will then belong to Lata’s two brothers and their families, and there will be little space left for Lata to stay there.

An independent and hard-working young woman, Lata is excited about owning a home at the JCWP site in Patan. With her skills as a seamstress, she is confident about her ability to make the payments.

“I have saved for these five years and I can pay,” Lata said. “I can take a low-interest loan for the down payment.”

Lata’s average income is 1,500 rupees a month. For five years, Lata has been a member of a women’s self-help group. She contributes 50 rupees a month and can take loans. This gives her confidence in her ability to make a monthly payment and handle household expenses.

“My daughter was only educated to the fifth standard; she couldn’t keep on in school after the injury. She’s not educated, but she is very creative,” said Phulabai.

Seventeen years ago Lata received a sewing machine and has been sewing for income since then. First she learned to make blouses for saris. She sells them for 20, 30 or 50 rupees, depending on the style. Lata also learned to make dresses which she sells for 100 rupees. She can make three blouses in the time it takes to make a dress.

Lata is an eager entrepreneur. In Patan, she has already built a larger clientele for her saris and dresses than in the area where she currently lives. She has also taken a course in making juice and jam and looks for every opportunity to increase her skills and diversify her income.