Income generation program
The basic idea is that we provide upfront micro finance to enable a family to buy a cow or other investment to enable them to earn an income for the family and to repay the loan so it can be given to another family.
We started the programme in March 2012 and it works as follows.
- We provide a loan of Rs.20,000 to a mother towards the purchase of a cow. In some cases they use the loan to buy a sewing machine or to open a small shop. 95% so far have bought a cow in calf. The cow costs about Rs. 25000.
- They have to find the rest elsewhere which shows us that they can manage money.
- The mother will repay Rs.1,000 each month.
- After 20 months the loan is repaid. Every second year or so the cow will provide an extra calf and after about four years the first calf (if it is a female ) becomes a mother and can be sold. This makes a huge difference to the family and totally transforms their lives.
- We have entered into arrangements with local dairy coops who collect the milk and will provide a vet and medicines if the cow is ill. We also provide regular training sessions for the mothers in animal husbandry etc.
The benefits of this programme are:
- From day one the family are in receipt of nourishing milk. Their normal diet is rice and lentils. Better nutrition will help their education which has always been our primary objective.
- They can sell the milk to repay the loan and also to buy other things.
- They can also use or sell the cow dung for fuel.
- They learn how to manage money and repay the loan. This gives them a great sense of pride.
- Each month the repayments are relent to other mothers. So the same €275 will be recycled every 20 months with many families benefitting from the same donation.
- Calves can be kept or resold. After4 years the first calf, if female, becomes a mother and can be sold for huge benefit to the family. In general we see them using the proceeds of sale to enable the children to go to better quality third level colleges which would be otherwise out of their reach.
- The cow can be kept tethered at the family home and the mother will bring the cow each morning to wherever she is working. The cow happily feeds while she works.
- A cow has a special place with Indian, each one is loved by its family. The cow becomes a member of the family.
In June 2013 20 of our mothers finished repaying their loans. Since the programme started 250 mothers and families have benefited from this program and they are all up-to-date with their loans. The loans are provided through their mothers self-help groups and each mother is aware that if she defaults on her loan the credit worthiness of the mother’s group will be affected. In turn the other mothers will help any mother who is having difficulty repaying the loan.
Rather than receiving a handout the loan is working very well and it has given them all a great sense of pride. We also charge 1% per month and this money is lent for the third level education of their children. In July 2013 we were able to fund the education of a number of children to 3rd level. 3 rd level for their children gives a great sense of pride to parents who are generally illiterate. They know the child will be able to help the family once the education is completed.
By the end of 2014 we hope to have provided loans for 500 cows and change the lives of the recipients families forever by enabling them to earn a reasonable income.