By Sukhdev Gupta, Rang De Social Investor
I was always inclined towards doing something in the social sector. After retiring from Govt. service in 1997 I settled in Gurgaon where I worked as a consultant for nearly four years.
In 2003, I came in contact with GOONJ, and got actively involved, helping it expand its reach in Gurgaon. In 2007, I also joined Khushboo Welfare Society, an NGO for mentally and multiple challenged children.
About a year back, I heard about Rang De from my brother. I studied the model closely and was fascinated by it. Its governing board consists of eminent professionals who inspire confidence.
Micro finance has always fascinated me as I believe it gives opportunities to poor people to generate some income and improve their standard of living. It also imparts dignity to the beneficiaries as they are not receiving any charity rather helping themselves by dint of enterprise and hard work.
Rang De gives two choices to the investor to choose the beneficiaries. One can choose oneself from the list on its site or leave it to Rang De. I have tried both the alternatives and I am satisfied with both the selections. The interest being charged is very reasonable and just covers the expenditure on operations. I can help two families to increase their income for one year by just giving Rs.650, the interest on Rs.10, 000.00 for a year.
What I also like about Rang De is that it informs the social investor at regular intervals about the progress regarding the installments being repaid by the beneficiaries. The social investor can also re-invest the money paid back by the beneficiaries.
The feedback system is also very good. The social investor can visit the beneficiary or talk to her/him on telephone. I myself spoke with two women beneficiaries from Orissa. In fact one of my Oriya speaking friend did all the talking on my behalf. One of the beneficiaries asked us to visit her in the village and see for our self how she is using the money. I was quite impressed.
The stories of beneficiaries are very heart warming and educative. I was always skeptical as to how a small loan of Rs.5000.00 can generate any worthwhile income. Most of my friends involved in philanthropy were also skeptical. But my experience with Rang De has taught me that our rural folk are very enterprising and given an opportunity can do wonders.
I am greatly excited by the fact that sitting in Gurgaon I can help the needy in distant villages of this vast country by investing small sums. On the whole my experience has been very educative and satisfying. I think this is one platform where you can help the less fortunate in a most effective manner. I will definitely recommend it to my friends.