Field Trip Diaries —Women Soldier On In Flood-Hit Yavatmal — July 2016

August 24, 2016
By Rang De Team

Flooding has caused extensive damage to kuccha houses in the area as it does every year

In the second week of July, we visited Pusad and Digras in Yavatmal district in Maharashtra. Amidst pouring rain and flood-like situations, we visited 28 borrowers who had taken Rang De loans through our impact partner Samagra Gram Vikas Sanstha (SAGRAS).

We were moved by the hospitality of the people. They were facing problems due to the rain and some houses had water seeping in through the kuccha roof. This did not stop them from welcoming us with smiling faces and they made us feel comfortable.

The main office of SAGRAS is located in Pusad while most of the borrowers are located in a village called Digras 20 kms away. The road to Pusad has a river running alongside it and due to the incessant rain, the water level had increased. The field worker who accompanied us was afraid that if the water came onto the road, we would get stranded in the village.

Even though the weather was bad, the field workers cooperated with us and took us to meet as many borrowers as possible.

Most houses in Pusad were pakka houses but there were some that were kuccha. Borrowers who lived in kuccha houses had water seeping in. A borrower told us that in the night, a snake had entered her house because of the water.

Sangeeta Bhagat, one of the beneficiaries of a Rang De loan, had kept all her luggage and valuables at her mother’s house.

The wind had blown her kuccha house away and she was planning on building a pakka house.

We visited Sangeeta’s neighbour whose house was also flooded. Despite their unfortunate circumstances, they continued to offer us tea and snacks.

One thing we noticed among the borrowers of Maharashtra was that they knew their business plan well. They were aware of what they want to do with the money they borrowed. They did not just stick to one business — a woman who carried out agricultural activities also operated usually as a goat rearer or a cow rearer.

Vaishali Emale is an entrepreneur as she combined beauty parlour work with garment selling

Vaishali Emale started a beauty parlour. She realised that women visiting her parlour had to go far off to purchase garments and started selling garments from her house. She also noticed that women were shy to purchase inner wear from shops so she started selling them from her house.

Vaishali’s husband is supportive of his wife and happily talked about his wife’s success. Almost all of our borrowers had supportive husbands which made it easier for them to work.

The social workers at SAGRAS are also very friendly. They are one of our oldest partners and the way they treated us made us feel like one of them.

Rang De team members Sonali and Tulika pose with the employees at SAGRAS

The work that field Impact partners like SAGRAS do is admirable. They go to remote villages and find needy people who actually require a loan year after year.

One borrower who has availed four loans had six buffaloes. She now has her own house and is doing extremely well in her business and has a savings of her own. She also possesses three acres of land and works on the farm as well.

She has two married sons and we asked them what she would do if her sons and families moved on.

“We will have a good life. I have been saving money,” she replied.

We are pleased to see steady development despite all the environmental and related challenges in the Yavatmal area that has occurred due to Rang De loans.

With 7,453 loans disbursed by SAGRAS over the past seven years, we are proud to have a partner that has been consistently sensitive to the needs of women across hundreds of professions in the area.

Impact team members Sonali and Tulika visited the villages of Yavatmal in July 2016. You can invest in over 100 small-income borrowers serviced by SAGRAS on the Rang De website.

We regularly carry out field trips to ensure that Rang De loans are making the desired impact on the poor communities we seek to empower. You can see the upcoming field trips on our Field Trip calendar and join us or you can sign up for audio evaluations by filling up the form here.