With over 50,000 loans disbursed over nine years through the help of 10,000+ Social Investors, there have been many success stories as women improved their family incomes, educated their children, purchased assets, afforded better healthcare and generally moved away from a subsistence form of living with the help of crowdsourced microcredit.
Some women have created employment opportunities as well.
Rama Keshav Bodade, 37, lives in Digras in Yavatmal with her mother and two brothers. After completing a commerce degree, she took up menial work so that they could provide basic amenities for their family and pay for their younger brother’s tuition fees.
It takes a long time for a person in rural India to save enough capital to run their own venture. The lower purchasing power in these areas means that they can rarely save enough after accounting for costs for the 1 lakh+ capital required for even the smallest business.
She initially started a beauty parlour in her village and worked on tailoring in her free time before seeking a crowdsoured loan in 2013 to expand her business.
Seeing an opportunity to aid young women who were in similar situations find a way to be independent, she decided to open a training school once Sweta beauty parlour gained a reputation within the town.
She has now trained four batches of 15 women in a six-month course to start their own beauty parlours.
It gets better.
Wanting recognition for her training programme so that girls could obtain a certificate upon the completion of her course, she underwent a three-month long tussle with the authorities.
Women travel 30 kilometres to her parlour to receive training.
She attends meetings and workshops in nearby districts. She works closely with Sagras, our field partner in the area to know how she can improve her business.
Rama told us she would like more loans as the terms of repayment were fair and allowed her to experiment and improve. She would love to implement the ideas she has learned from different workshops or put into practice the tips provided by fashion magazines. She purchased her own smartphone and stated that she had plans to learn even more on the Internet.
Soon, she plans to rent a bigger place which would enable her to accommodate even more trainees and customers.
Increased financial stability, creation of employment opportunities and an enhanced status of women through financial independence was all made possible because people decided to click a button and make a difference in the life of a woman from rural Maharashtra.
Ramakeshav was one of 104 loans disbursed to beauty parlours in rural Maharashtra. You can help realise the ambitions of many other women at www.rangde.org/invest with your contributions.
Would you like to get updates about your favourite organisation working hard to bring you closer to rural development? Sign up for updates into your inbox at his link.