Repairing shoes for more than two decades now, Kanakamma of Vizag continues to strive hard to make ends meet as a woman cobbler.
“When I was young, I used to help my cousin who was a cobbler. This was where I first picked up the skill and also learnt a few tricks of the trade. Eventually, I set up my own business at Vizag’s Satyam Junction and it has been 25 long years since then.
Just like any small-scale business, I too have faced many challenges over the years. With my family’s poor financial condition demanding me to earn a livelihood, I have had to endure many nightmares to earn money for my daughter’s education. Life hasn’t been easy on the personal front either. With my husband being an alcoholic, I couldn’t fetch help from anywhere. The untimely death of my young son worsened matters for me. Currently, it is my daughter who helps me. She practices nursing and is proud of her mother’s hard work in bringing her up. I work from 9 am to 10 pm daily and regret not getting enough time to spend with my daughter or grandchildren.
Earlier, my daily earnings rounded up to about Rs 300. However, the numbers have gone down in the recent times and now I earn close to Rs 150 a day.
This profession has been my soul saver in the tough times and I plan on continuing in the same trade for as long as possible.”
As a woman who stood strong despite adversities, 50-year-old Kanakamma makes a mark in a male-dominated line of work.