I am currently working in a small town in Raleigh in the United States and Rang De only came to my attention after my friend Rahul Dewan told me about their mission.
Rahul has always been passionate about social causes and it surprised me to find out about a crowdfunding portal that I could use to lend to rural entrepreneurs in India even if I am currently based in the United States.
I have been a Social Investor since April 2015 and in that time, I have made many investments. But it occurred to me that what I was doing was just a drop in the ocean.
Could there be a way for me to get more people involved and contribute funds to the people who needed it the most?
I could always call my friends and tell them about Rang De and how they can do their part even if they currently live abroad. But I felt an easier way would be to create an online campaign where people could join the larger cause of fighting poverty.
And so an online campaign called Fight Poverty in India, Support Rural Entrepreneurship was born. I put an ambitious target of 1 crore worth of funds for micro-loans to any of the hundreds of rural entrepreneurs on the Rang De platform.
I am amazed at how people have responded. This was just an idea but now 63 lakhs worth of funds have been contributed by people from across all walks of life — many of them are people I have never met or will never meet!
I have made close to 700 calls over the past year to get people to sign up to this campaign. Not all of them were successful but they have been some of the best conversations in my life.
There was a time when I met a friend for dinner at a restaurant and told him about this online campaign. He told me immediately that he wanted to contribute and that was the fastest 1 lakh that I had ever raised!
On our own, we can only make a small difference but with this campaign, I think people can see how powerful our impact can be if we act together.
But ultimately, this campaign is not about me or the people who have contributed.
It is a way for people to realise that they can bring about change if they want to by making a social investment getting inspired by all the people who have taken that first step.
In India, I understand that life can be difficult as we have to work hard and brave the traffic and deal with all the pressures of life in a metropolitan in a developing country.
But we can still give and do so much to our fellow rural Indians. We can have a culture where giving back becomes the norm.
Here in the United States, I can see how seriously people take the concept of giving as everyone is involved with some charity or the other.
As this campaign shows, though, there are just as many people interested in giving back and making a difference in some small way or the other in India.
I hope that this campaign continues to grow and a day comes when we cross that 1 crore mark together.
The author of this blog post invites you to join his campaign that has already impacted over 2,500 individuals over the past two years. Do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are based in the United States or elsewhere and want to contribute and we would be happy to tell you what you can do to help us raise funds for rural entrepreneurs!
Please do follow the Facebook page of this campaign for regular updates on its progress.