Karnataka Beyond Bangalore — A Look at How Crowdsourced Micro-Loans Have Helped Indians

October 18, 2016
By Rang De Team
Karnataka is home to nearly 64 million people, over 60% of whom live in its villages and practise agriculture as their basic source of livelihood.

Karnataka is our home state. While our operations serve the underserved in 17 Indian states, it is a natural inclination to find opportunities closer home.

An agrarian state, Karnataka has had a large population of farmers. This number, however, is on the decline. The economic survey of Karnataka points out that between 2004–05 and 2011–12, the percentage of workers engaged in agriculture fell from 61% to 49%.

This shift to non-agricultural livelihoods is starkly evident in the purpose of loans that Rang De has disbursed in Karnataka.

Of the 2,598 loans that we have helped crowdsource with your help, less than a third went towards the cultivation of farm produce such as chilli, coconuts, vegetables, millets, banana etc (Sept, 2016).

The remaining loans cover a wide range of occupations such as handicrafts, weaving, dry waste collection centres, small hotels/ eateries, poultry farms, cattle rearing and even photo studios.

Alternative livelihoods become critical when a key source of income becomes redundant. However, finding financial support to undertake a new livelihood activity is almost impossible given the low creditworthiness of the poor.

With your help, we have bridged this gap by connecting Indians with nearly 2,598 borrowers in Karnataka. These include 178 loans for the primary and higher education of children.

With help from our Social Investors who have contributed to these loans, we have disbursed Rs 4.93 crores worth of credit.

The highest share of the above funds has gone to Sri Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM), an organisation that works towards the improvement of livelihoods in the regions surrounding Mysore district.

Manjunatha availed a Rang De loan to set-up a small eatery that now provides him a regular, sustainable source of income

38-year-old Manjunatha left behind an IT services job in Hyderabad to come back home to his father who had suffered huge losses in his hotel business. Through SVYM, a Rang De loan of Rs 10,000 supported Manjunatha to rebuild on similar ground and set up a fast food stall which now lets him earn a regular income for his family.

Located around 250 kilometres north of Mysore is the district of Shimoga, home to a Gandhian institution called Charaka. We first partnered with Charaka in March 2014 and nearly Rs 70 lakhs has been raised since for this weaving cooperative.

Charaka, through a large community of local men and women, weaves and tailors garments from natural materials. These are then sold to customers from 11 flagship stores under the brand name of ‘Desi.

Charaka improves not just the income of these weavers but also instills a way of life through Gandhian principles.

Habba, Rang De’s sister organisation, has also tied up with Charaka to promote Desi products on its online portal.

Hundreds of men and women find work at the looms in Charaka which attempts to make weaving profitable in the region of Shimoga

Poverty is seldom limited to villages. In the capital city of Bangalore, urban poverty co-exists with ever increasing wealth.

While the garbage crisis frequently makes news in the city, few care about those who clear heaps of waste away from public sight.

HasiruDala is a non-governmental organisation that works towards improving the livelihoods of waste pickers in Bangalore. We have raised funds for not just the operation of dry waste collection centres by young men associated with HasiruDala, but also for the primary education of the children of waste pickers.

Valliyamma Shekar, the wife of a waste picker in Jolly Mohala in Bangalore, was able to afford the school fee for her children Jennifer, Thomas and Stella after she availed a Rang De loan.

She was also spared the trouble of paying interest as high as Rs 1,000 per month had she approached a local moneylender instead.

Partnering with organisations such as HasiruDala, Samridhdhi and The Guardian of Dreams, we have raised funds for the education of many children of the urban poor

We have also raised Rs 24.35 lakh worth of funds towards children’s education initiatives, vocational training and funded the tertiary education loans of children of migrants by partnering with Bangalore-based organisations The/Nudge, Samridhdhi and Guardian of Dreams.

Charity is said to begin at home. As we continues to work towards poverty alleviation in India, Karnataka will hold a special place, simply for being our home.

As a Rang De social investor, you too can help brighten the lives of one or more of our borrowers from Karnataka.

We are constantly on the lookout to partner with organisations that work in the sectors of livelihood and education as well. Organisations interested in partnering with Rang De can reach out to us at impact@rangde.org

Make an impact in the lives of fellow Indians. Invest through Rang De’s newly launched platform rangde.in