- Sowmya Nandan, Rang De Chief Impact OfficerRang De’s Chief Impact Officer recently returned from her first field visit to Pusad, Maharashtra and brought back with her inspiring stories of our borrowers and field partner, SAGRAS. Here’s a look at the field visit that left her short of words.
Every field visit has a different learning scenario and my last field visit to Pusad to meet our field partner SAGRAS (Samagra Gram Vikas Sanstha) had a lot of lessons to teach me! The lessons began even before I set foot in Pusad. The five hour road trip from Nagpur to Pusad opened my eyes to how the apartment culture is encroaching everywhere, not just the cities. Sanju, the person who driving me around informed me that the property prices in Nagpur were almost equivalent to Bangalore. One of the most talked about aspect after every SAGRAS visit is the ever popular ‘Bhakti’ hotel and its Maharashtrian food. Rang De Team members had explicitly given me instructions that I should not miss the bhindi sabji and dal. I promptly ordered it for my first meal and it continued to be my ritual for the rest of my stay.
The experience to SAGRAS was an extremely humbling one. It was heartening to see how closely knit most of the SAGRAS team members were with the community. Every person in the community recognized them and warmly exchanged pleasantries. It’s a rare scenario to see that our Field Staff share such a great rapport with our borrowers. The entire field audit was carried out flawlessly. The tracker sheet I had carried had all the borrower details – however, Mahatreji and Nagaraoji had the database in their minds. As soon as we arrived the community, women flocked together and had already put a beautiful Rangoli and adorned the God with beautiful flowers and lamps. It was emotionally difficult for me to relate to the fact that most of these women who had gathered came from low income groups, yet their gesture was unconditional. They had made beautiful bouquet of flowers and got chai and snacks from one of our borrowers shops.
I would like to applaud how Bhangeji, the founder of SAGRAS has consciously given employment to 2 members who are specially-abled. The entire SAGRAS team members has been working for about 10 years and this decade of experience gives Rang De a lot of community intelligence. I believe that no management book can teach the stuff we can pick from these communities. They are not looking at taking calculated risk, but also think about the future and have alternate plans in place – their energy and soul is put towards making the IMPACT!
We at the Rang De Mumbai Chapter recently ran an “Add a Tagline” campaign for Rang De’s social investors based in Mumbai. The camapign was a success and many of our social investors went ahead and added different taglines a part of their email signature. Some of the tag lines they have come up with are:
Small loans Big …Impacts. Log on to www.rangde.org to make a social investment today!
Let’s knock out poverty in India. Log on to www.rangde.org to make a social investment today!
I am a Rang De Social Invetsor. Are you? Log on to www.rangde.org to know more.
The first five social investors who added the taglines and won a Rang De T-shirt each are:
Mr. Amey Kolhatkar
Thanks a lot to each one of you and all others who have added the above taglines as a part of your email signature. This will help us in making more and more people aware of the beautiful cause Rangde is supporting.
SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR.. Set one of these tag lines as your email signature (or chose from a list our Awareness Page).
Last week the buzz at Rang De was an unprecedented high. The high was felt in the number of investments that picked up dramatically during the weekend. While Suresh representing Rang De at the Pune event was just the beginning, the Rang De Operations team created quite a frenzy at the SRM tech fest. The boxing gloves sure did add to building the momentum. The involvement from the student community went beyond the punch bag and the boxing gloves. Their genuine interest to volunteer and make a social investment was an eye opener.
The Mumbai chapter that was raring to go had their first public event at Start Up city. Seven volunteers along with Shirley created awareness and excitement among the participants of the Silicon India Start Up City event. While I only got to see the pictures, the excitement levels drove me to wishing that I was there.
To top up the week long frenzy was an unexpected story that came up in Eenadu – a leading telugu publication. They carried a page long story about Rang De which meant that we were almost manning a 24X7 call centre with the Live help ringing constantly with requests to partner, volunteer and of course social investments as well!
More about upcoming new chapters and tips on setting up a Rang De chapter in your own city. Watch out for the next post.
Mumbai is a city known to be full of life and we just realised nothing can be more true than this. The Rang De Mumbai chapter has taken off and we are completely thrilled about it. Mitesh one of our social investors took the initiative to get a few friends together and what started off as an informal group is now
in full swing. A whole load of activities have been lined up by the Mumbai chapter. Some of them are:
1) Volunteering at the Start up City Event in Mumbai – for the first time Rang De volunteers will be managing a full fledged stall on their own
2) Rang De Friends’ meet – an informal get together of everyone who cares about Rang De and want to participate actively.
3) An evaluation trip – trip to Nagpur or Pusad – to meet borrowers of Rang De and meet with our field partners
4) One corporate event featuring Rang De
Phew…there is quite a lot happening out there!! If you are in Mumbai and want to be part of this exciting and vibrant group, just drop an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are not in Mumbai and want to start a chapter in your own city, then write to us too!
During recent visits to a micro finance institution in Maharashtra, we came across a micro credit very different from traditional loans which are usually given for income generation activities. We met a group of people living in slums. These people were primarily in the business of making snacks and selling them in the local markets. Prior to availing the loan, the group barely made enough to make both ends meet that they had no money to spare to build themselves a permanent shelter to call “home”. They rented houses for which they had to shell out Rs.300, which was eating into all their earnings. When a local MFI approached them for giving micro loans to run their business, they opted not to take it. Instead, they asked if they could avail loans to build their houses. They reasoned that the loan would help them avoid paying high rentals and the same could be diverted to pay as EMI’s at the end of which they will have a home to call their own. The MFI agreed. Every member of the group got a loan (below 10000), which was used to make houses made of wooden planks.
As of date, the loan has been repaid in full without a default. The group went back to the MFI to avail another loan afterwards – to expand their businesses. Another case to prove convincingly that poor are both reliable and prompt in repaying loans whether it is a commercial loan or a low cost house building loan.
In another case of finance of infrastructure through microfinance, the borrowers of Joint Liability Groups (JLG) from a remote village in Chitradurga district of Karnataka have been given credit (Rs 3000 each )for LPG and electricity connections for their homes. Access to electricity and LPG connections have made their life easy and they are able to now use a vital couple of hours on other income generating activities resulting in extra earnings for the family.
This may not be much, however, Microfinance is an incremental concept and it takes one step at a time to climb the ladder out of the pit called “poverty”.