By Pranay Prateek, Rang De Bangalore Chapter Member
“Hey Machaa! Come da, we have a talk in the TT room.”
“Saale Chal! Aaj hi saara kaam karega kya.”
Thus, we coerced people to come to listen to the talk on Rang De which was about to happen in our TT (table tennis) room. Although we had sent messages on the internal messenger of the company about the talk to be held, we knew that according to Newton’s First Law, people needed external force to change from their current state of being.
A week back in one of the weekly meetings of Rang De Bangalore Chapter, we had decided to try to spread awareness about Rang De by organising talks in companies and colleges. I and my colleague, Prateek, being from Geodesic Ltd thought we could arrange a talk in our office. We talked to our HR and she was happy to have us organize such a talk. Archana Ramakrishnan, VP- Partnerships of Rang De gladly agreed to be there to give a talk on what RangDe’s vision was and how it works. Nishant from the Bangalore Chapter also agreed to come for the talk, and share his insights on micro-credit and micro-finance.
After having the TT room full with around 50 people (which a good number considering there are only 150 employees in our Bangalore office), the talk started with Nishant giving a brief overview of what micro-finance was and how it worked, how it is helping people in rural areas to obtain loan and why there is a need to provide micro-credit at a low interest rate. Then Archana came along and explained the Rang De model, and how we are trying to keep the interest rate just at 8.5% flat p.a while many other MFIs(microfinance institutions) are charging as much as 24%. People seemed to listen to her raptly as everyone stayed till the end of the talk which went well above 40 minutes. There were also a slew of questions regarding how did we ensure that the money was being used for the purpose it was lent for, was the money we invested was tax free, what happens in the case of default, etc.
We were able to sell a few gift vouchers on the spot and promise from many who attended the talk, that they will look in the site and make the investment. One important feedback which we got was that we should hold events around the starting of the month, so that people can invest readily. At the end of the month, resources are tied up and it becomes difficult to allocate a pie for social investment. May be we will keep this in account, when planning our next events.
P.S: The icing on the cake was, the next day our VP — Technology came to me and handed me a cheque of 15K in the name of RangDe.Org. I was more than elated.