A loan to a Dalit mother to purchase a cow will change her and her family's lives forever. A cow will provide family nutrition and enough income to repay the loan and leave some more from day one. The loan will be repaid within 20 months and the money will then be relent to change the life of another family. The loan rather than a handout gives self-respect. We have already provided over 750 loans. Repayment rate is 100% due to the internal pressure of our mothers self-help groups.
We have 2,000 mainly Dalit mothers in our 120 self-help groups. 750 have already received a loan, the other 1250 are waiting. Husbands and wives work as daily laborers for very basic wages. They live in very basic accommodation without sanitation or easy access to clean water. Many of the husbands have problems with alcohol. Their income levels are very low, which affects the health of the children and their ability to continue in education. The entire family benefits from owning a cow
Most of mothers who are given a micro-finance loan will purchase a cow about to give birth to a calf. So from day one the cow will be producing milk, some for the calf, some for family nutrition, some to sell for food and to repay the loan. Once the loan, which is repaid at Rs.1000 per month, has been completed after 20 months the monthly income from the cow should be Rs.3000 . This is the equivalent to a months wages for a mother working, cleaning the sewers.
Every other year the cow should produce a calf. A male calf will be sold and the female calf will be kept for 3 to 4 years, at which time it would become a mother. So the family have increasing assets. Sometimes the family will sell a cow to improve their accommodation or to educate a child. The family take great pride in owning a cow. One cow can feed and educate a family of 4 children for years. A new family will benefit from the money every 20 months