By Smita, Rang De Team
After scheduling and rescheduling a field trip for three consecutive weekends I went on a field visit with Rang De Mumbai Chapter Members Deepa and Mitesh to Pusad in Yavatmal. We took off to Pusad on Rang De’s first evaluation trip to meet field partner SAGRAS. This was the first field trip for Mumbai Chapter also. Now the travel to Pusad was not that straightforward, it was roughly around 900 kms one way and the time we actually had to cover the ground to and fro was a weekend and an extra half day.
I have always been mighty impressed with the determination of our chapters. After meticulous planning by Mitesh and Deepa we started off on a Friday afternoon when most young Mumbaikars were planning to head to one of the happening places to spend their evening. We started off from Mumbai’s CST in the afternoon at 3.00 pm. Thus began the journey to Wardha. I had spoken to Mitesh and Deepa loads of times but I was meeting them for the first time. After the initial hesitation to make conversation, the three of us hit it off.
Mitesh and Deepa are two ordinary individuals with an extra-ordinary attitude to life. I was amazed at these two young people who had willingly given up a weekend for a field trip of which they did not know what to expect. I knew I had a lot to learn from them.
We reached Wardha at 4.30 am- bang on time and after soaking in the history of India’s struggle for Independence led by Gandhiji- Sevagram being just 7 kms from Wardha — we set off to Pusad by bus. The four hour journey on a bumpy road did not seem to bother us much. May be the excitement of it all was just too much for us to even think about anything else. We were received by Soma — the Accounts Manager of our field partner SAGRAS. We received the grandest welcome ever with bouquets and then started the best part of the entire trip — meeting people who had taken a loan from Rang De. We met a few borrowers individually, a few in groups.
Something that was thoroughly inspiring was the variety of businesses that the borrowers were involved in. It varied from making baskets to selling bangles.
Special mention needs to be made of our field partner SAGRAS and the way they were interacting with borrowers. It was marked with a deep sense of respect and we could see that they were mentoring the borrowers along with providing them with the loans.
The passion with which the women spoke is something that needs to be seen to be believed. Mitesh and Deepa were completely awestruck at how people were making ends meet. For Mitesh who works for an investment bank, it was experiencing the impact of a social investment for the first time and for Deepa it was the confidence with which the women were balancing the work and home life that left a deep mark.
Sameena, a Rang De borrower sells vegetables to earn a living.[/caption]
After travelling 2000 kms during the weekend, we came back having earned new friends, a deeper understanding of how Rang De and microcredit work and a stronger resolution to make a meaningful impact. On the whole it was a weekend well spent and truly worth the time and money.
You could join us on the next field trip. Do have a look at the field trip schedule and we promise you will have an experience that will be hard to forget.
To comply with RBI regulations, Rang De’s lending operations are moving from rangde.org to our brand new platform rangde.in. Visit rangde.in to continue social investing.