Friday, October 17, 2008

Micro loans in Action

I've always wanted to start a perpetual education fund or participate in micro loans. So I found a group called Kiva. The stats and ratings are well documented so if you want to warn me that I might get ripped off...well, I'll take that chance, but I doubt it.

I already made my first micro loan and my goal is to loan at least one time a month.

My first loan was to Rukhsana Meeran Baksh Group. It's a group of women that are requesting money for buisness ventures in Pakistan.

The cool part is that they are all supportive of each other and will not only help repay the loan, but help make each buisness successful.

Rukhsana baji is a wife of Meeran Baksh and lives in the Bund Road area of Lahore, Pakistan. She has lived in this city for the last 32 years and is the mother of two sons, the older of which is in kindergarten. Rukhsana baji's husband makes a living selling cloth, and has been in this business for the last four years. Rukhsana baji is a housewife who prefers to do household work and take care of her family. She successfully repaid her first loan from Asasah (a microfinance institute in Pakistan). She is applying for this loan to buy more clothes for her husband's cloth selling business.

She is joined in her loan group by several members. Kosar baji wants a loan to buy materials for her business selling bangles. Rabia baji wants a loan to buy supplies for her grocery shop. Shazia baji wants a loan to buy material (such as beads, colored thread and sketches) for her embroidery business. Suraiya baji, Shama baji and Asmat baji each want a loan to buy more clothes to resell.

This is a group loan. The loan funds will be distributed among the members, each of whom will invest in her own business. The members mutually guarantee each other's loans. If one member does not repay, the other members are responsible.

This loan is through a field partner, "Assah". They coordinate the loans etc. They have successfully loaned over a million dollars to women in Pakistan. Out of the 4000+ loans...every single entrepreneur has paid back 100% of the loan. This program is making a REAL difference in the lives of women.

Asasah is one of the fastest growing microfinance institutions in Pakistan working to provide financial services to households of micro-entrepreneurs. The word “Asasah” literally translates to assets from the Urdu language and the vision for this MFI is “to enhance micro-productivity and eradicate poverty.” Professionals committed to providing financial services to poor, an organization pending nonprofit status that is led by Ms. Jaffery, started Asasah in March 2003. Ms. Jaffery, is a qualified chartered accountant with 11 years of prior experience in microfinance.

Asasah employs group lending methodology and believes that female empowerment is a powerful catalyst for positive social change. Hence, for this reason 100% of Asasah’s clients are women. Asasah’s methodology provides women with flexibility to invest in their business or their family business. While safeguarding support of the entire family, Asasah makes the woman the primary point of contact for delivery of financial services, which elevates her position in the household and community.


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