Nek and her husband
Nek lives in a shelter on a narrow strip of land running through one of Kolkata’s “canals” – they are in fact open sewers. She is 35 years old, a mother of five and lives with her husband and four of the children.
She and her husband have a small tailoring business but they have struggled to support their large family on the Rs200 (£2.13, $2.80, Eur2.38) they managed to earn each day. Nek says “Sometimes we used to go to sleep hungry”.
Last December, Nek applied for a loan under Tiljala SHED’s Alternative Livelihood programme. With the Rs20,000 (£213, $2.80, Eur238) she bought a new sewing machine and an overlocker machine. She and her husband have been able to improve their efficiency with these new machines and now earn Rs500 per day. This has made a huge impact on family life and prospects for the whole family.
• They can eat regular nutritious meals. “We eat fish or chicken 4 days a week” says Nek. This is considered a ”privileged meal” within the community
• They can purchase new clothes occasionally, especially for festivals (an important tradition in which the ultra-poor are unable to enjoy)
• Nek has started saving a little money each month
• She has purchased her own electricity meter
• She is keeping the youngest children in education and spending what is necessary on books and uniforms.
Moreover, Nek has already repaid the original loan (with interest) and is keen to take out a further loan. Nek’s experience shows how access to cheap credit, through responsible microfinance loans, empowers a family to change their own lives. Nek has not received any free handouts, just a helping hand so that she can grow her business and improve the lives of the whole family.
This project began in early 2016. The loans were entirely funded by GlobalGiving donors like you. Since then your generosity has changed the lives of 330 destitute families in central Kolkata.
• Total beneficiaries 330
• Total of loans disbursed Rs 5,265,004 (£56,000 $73,500 Eur 62,700)
• Total of new loans from the revolving fund Rs2,829,000 (£330,200 $39,500 Eur 33,680)
• Total Number of *CIGs 44
• Loan Recovery rate 98%
*Credit Interest Group. Lending/borrowing is organised around these community-based organisations. Each of the 5 women in the group is responsible for all the others in the group. They support one another and recommend others for loans. It is a system which works very well indeed.
With two of their five children