I knew about Rang De even before I came to the UK. I am now part of the UK Chapter.
We go and enlist our friends to contribute to the loans of rural Indians and tell other Indian expatriates about Rang De. We were featured on NDTV and even represented the organisation at the House of Lords!
I think charity or donations are temporary solutions. They can’t create a lasting impact. I joined Rang De as a Social Investor because I believe in micro finance and the sustainable impact it can create.
Social and financial inclusion is something that I believe, in the long-term, can bring about sustainable change in poor communities.
I like Rang De because it is a very grassroots-level organisation.
Peer-to-peer lending facilitated by Rang De perhaps is the most convenient way of contributing for a cause.
All you have to do is click three buttons to extend loan to a person who needs it and who will anyway repay you. How easy can things be!
In India, I have personally seen that a small thing like having a bank account— which we take for granted in cities — can really liberate an individual. We cannot even imagine how much life can change after getting a bank account or access to credit. Once a person has a bank account, the banks will chase him and he will learn about so many options to grow his or her small business he never had any idea about before.
Micro-finance is an effective tool which helps combat poverty by providing access to finance to those who are not catered by banks. Financial inclusion leads to financial literacy and eventually to financial independence, and it is one of the ways that can eradicate poverty sustainably.
Education is another way in which we can bring about development in rural India — I used to teach 2–3 hours every weekend — but the impact of education can be observed usually over 10–20 years, as there is a long gestation period.
Micro-finance is not a fast cure but you can see tangible results within 3–5 years.
Even if we are in the UK, we discuss in the Chapter how we can contribute to development of India.
The UK Chapter is volunteer-led group with some defined designations and responsibilities which ensure tangible results are achieved in a time-bound manner. We understand that any individual member can only give so much time apart from their work and personal lives. But in a chapter, individuals can contribute based on their interests and available time by participating in the activities organised by other chapter members.
Chapters help spread the word and enable responding to queries that others have about Rang De in the places where we live.
In the Rang De UK Chapter, I really like the guys and their energies. All of them are really good, highly motivated and passionate about Rang De!
Just talking to them on the phone or reading the chats on gives mepositive energy. Whenever I learn about their achievements for Rang De, I feel really happy. The UK chapter team recently helped register Rang De as a charity in the country as well.
Representing an Indian NGO at the House of Lords is something I could not have imagined. To get access to the House of Lords, you have to have determination. It was a very good experience.
Lord Dholakia is a Member of Parliament from Southhall, well-known among the Indian diaspora. He was reaching out to various Indian origin organisations and he really liked the whole idea of Rang De so he invited us to the House of Lords to talk about Rang De to members of the parliament and other eminent personalities.
When I talk about Rang De to my friends, I always talk about the operational efficiency. They run Rang De really efficiently while achieving a big impact and this can only happen when everybody in the team is highly committed to the cause.
Many people still think that NGOs are not serious businesses but Rang De is very different. It is run by highly talented team.
Rang De has created a fantastic and easy to use platform which connects borrowers and lenders but many people don’t appreciate how much work is done behind the scenes.
Team Rang De performs extensive due diligence at every stage right from selecting the borrower to repaying the Social Investor. With industry leading repayment rates, I think people at Rang De are more worried about my money than I am!
Even after the micro-finance crisis in 2010–12 when things appeared dark, Rang De survived. So with an eight-year track record, a highly committed team, passionate volunteers and continuous innovation, I am sure Rang De will continue to enable individuals from rural India to be more self-reliant, financially independent and get rid of poverty on their own, with dignity and self-respect.
I am proud to be a Rang De Social Investor.
Nitin Jain is a Global Engagement Manager at HCL Technologies in London. Fellow IIT alumni can join Nitin in his Rang De Social Investor Group and make social investments together.
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