By Chetan Agrawal, Rang De Volunteer
It had been three years since I celebrated Diwali in India. So when I got the chance this year, I decided to make it one of the memorable events for rest of my life. I chose to go for a ‘Rang De Field Trip’.
In the past three years I have spoken to over 300 people, introducing them to Rang De but each time I talked about it, people used to ask whether it really worked, are people really getting benefit out of this venture, how the field partner worked etc. These questions are often faced when anyone tries to introduce Rang De to an individual. The answer lied in just one visit to the place where this whole story unfolds.
This field trip answered all my questions and I hope it will help me to jot down the lines to give exact answers from field. During this visit I visited 25 of our Rang De borrowers from Jhabua, MP. How happy these people were when I told them that I am here to make sure that nothing wrong is happening with them on the name of these microloans. We talked like we have known each other for a long time. Though most of them were busy when I reached there as they had a ‘HAAT’ on coming Sunday. ‘HAAT’ is the place where these people sell their products (using Rang De Loans) and get sure earnings but they gave me their precious time with no interest! All of these borrowers were the brave ladies who run their family with their hard work. They work all day at market/fields/home to make sure their children get a better place in the society.
There were 5–6 sweepers who took Rang De loan to grow their business of basket making. Two of them there had taken the loan of Rs 5000(which many of us have spent on Diwali fireworks) to make beautiful fish nets. I met borrowers from Muslim Area where ladies are doing great work of tailoring along with training new girls. I got the chance to meet farmers in their fields and met with people from different work and culture but with same target to get better place in the society.
If I write about this field trip in details, it would take a form of a book. I would like to dedicate it to volunteers who have joined Rang De make the difference in society. I would like to say that, we are still giving just a bit of our capacity. Guys, infuse all your energy to make it a success. People are looking towards you for so many of the solutions of their day-to-day lives. Give them one. Tell them about Rang De.