Apr 29, 2019

Your gifts are keeping families from starvation

Thank you for your generosity
Thank you for your generosity

At Tiljala SHED we are committed to empowering Kolkata’s poorest and most vulnerable people to help themselves. We provide educational support and sponsorship to 600 children and microloans to 430 vulnerable women. We see the impact in the educational attainment of children who are first generation learners, ambitious for a better life than that endured by their parents. Women, formerly rag pickers, have transformed their family fortunes by setting up small businesses.  But for some, their circumstances are so dire that they need a helping hand before they can begin to lift themselves out of the cycle of despair.

Shaheen is a mother of 4, a widow at 38 years old and suffering from a heart condition.  She lives beside the railway tracks and makes paper bags out of old newspapers to support her family. The children help her but they all regularly go to bed hungry as she only makes about Rs1200 ($17 or £13) a month.

Hunger means that the whole family has low energy which makes it all the more difficult to work.  To help Shaheen’s family get back on its feet, your generous donations have supplied her with sufficient food rations to ensure she and the children do not have to go hungry.  Once the children are able to progress in school and Shaheen’s medical condition is stabilised we can then consider providing her with a small loan to help her start a more profitable business. See our Livelihood Project here

This month Shaheen and 10 other vulnerable families received essential food rations from this project.

Thank you, as ever, for your generous donations. You are providing desperately needed relief for families who have reached rock bottom.

Widow Parveen (27) and her hungry children
Widow Parveen (27) and her hungry children
Shaheen (right) receives her food rations
Shaheen (right) receives her food rations
Apr 8, 2019

What a difference your help makes

Kahkasha
Kahkasha

Kahkasha was just 6 years old when she joined this project.  She is from a very poor family: her father is a waiter who earns just £55 ($72) each month. With that he supports his wife Farzana, daughter Kahkasha (now aged 9) and her younger brother.  They live in a single rented room of about 3m x 3m. They are a respectable family who want the best for their daughter.  But Kahkasha struggled in her first years at school. Shreya, who runs the programme, was very concerned as she feels very responsible for ensuring that your donations are properly spent.  So she engaged Anjum, one of the graduates from this programme, to give Kahkasha some extra tuition – and it seems that this has really paid off.  You can see the difference between this year’s and last year’s reports. Her grades have gone from mainly Ds and Cs to As and Bs. Her teachers are very pleased and so are her parents.  

Shreya reports:

“Kahkasha was promoted to class 1 she scores good number her percentage is 64% she did well. Before getting support from GlobalGiving, she was very weak in studies but now Anjum is giving her private tuition regularly now they are getting every benefit from GlobalGiving. Her family said they highly obliged to GlobalGiving. Her father works as a waiter in a restaurant where he earns very less amount of money RS 5000 per month.  In this amount he has to manage his family with this small amount. Kahkasha has a younger  brother now he is 3 years old and her mother Farzana she  is a housewife she do  all the house hold works at her home and also sit with her children when they comes from school ,they try to give proper education to their child  so we hope that they will success in their life”

We are so pleased that Kahkasha is now doing well, and with your continued support we hope she will continue to shine.   

A monthly donation of £27 provides hope for the future for girls from very poor families. This support ensures that the girl remains in education and does not end up married off early or engaged in child labour.   

This week every donation to this project (up to $50 or £38) will be matched 60% by GlobalGiving. So a donation of £38 from a UK tax payer is worth £70.30 to us. Please consider an extra donation to help a girl like Kahkasha

Kahkasha in 2016 when she joined the programme
Kahkasha in 2016 when she joined the programme
2018 Report card
2018 Report card
2019 Report card. See the difference
2019 Report card. See the difference
With her family
With her family

Attachments:
Apr 8, 2019

How Noorbanu built a business on a microloan

Noorbanu and Rajah in their shoe factory
Noorbanu and Rajah in their shoe factory

One of the most uplifting experiences when I visit Kolkata is a trip to visit the women who have set up small businesses.

Uplifting because the impact of these loans is seen so quickly. 

Thanks to your generosity, we can distribute microloans to vulnerable women who live in the squatter camps beside the railways and sewers.   Almost all are former rag pickers, who have scraped by and fed their families by collecting other peoples waste and selling it on to dealers. With no access to financial services (other than loan sharks) these women have little hope of changing their lives

Take Noorbanu. She took a small loan of Rs 15,000 (£166/USD219) in June 2017.  She set up a small shoe making business. Her husband Rajah got involved and they grew the business together, taking the finished goods to sell to merchants at one of Kolkata’s biggest markets. By March 2018 the family income had risen from Rs7000 a month to Rs13000 (this is a very good income, and much more than many of Tiljala SHED’s staff earn). The original loan was paid off in full by March 2018, but Noorbanu applied for a further loan. This time they took Rs20,000 and started to expand the business and to take on staff.  The pictures you see were taken in January when I visited this industrious little factory built on a bank beside the railway.  The Rs20,000 was also returned very quickly and Noorbanu now employs 8 staff. They make 100 pairs of shoes a day and clear Rs15 – 20 profit per pair.

Rajah is clearly in charge of the factory, but Noorbanu is responsible for the finances and they seem to be a great team. They are planning a future away from the chaos of the railway squatters where they can set up a formal factory and a comfortable home. 

By all accounts, like so many of the men in these communities, Rajah had been a bit of a troublemaker, drinking hooch and becoming violent.  But he is a changed man, they say, having put all of that behind him.

In fact, the reduction in domestic violence is, for me, one of the most significant outcomes of this excellent project. With access to credit these women are truly empowered to change their own and their families’ lives.

And, of course, the Rs35,000 lent to Noorbanu, was returned to the Revolving Fund and is now busy helping other families to lift themselves out of poverty and despair.

Please consider a generous donation today – even better a regular contribution – so that you can transform the lives of extremely vulnerable women in this forgotten part of Kolkata.

This week the first $50 (£38) of every donation attracts an additional 60% in matched funding. So, if you are a UK taxpayer a donation of £38 is worth over £70 to us until Friday 12th April 2019

 

The numbers:

Number of beneficiaries/loans since June 2016              428

Beneficiaries with 2nd loans                                               50

Beneficiaries with 3rd loans                                                  4

Total amount disbursed                                                     £81,344 (about half is from returned loans)

Loan recovery rate                                                              96.6% (Yes, really)

Noornbanu
Noornbanu's factory. Eight employees and growing..
 
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