This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by India Fellow Social Leadership Program. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Here’s How Micro Finance Is Helping The Poor Take Loans For Houses, Cars

More from India Fellow Social Leadership Program

The present age capitalism is also known as financialised capitalism, and micro-finance has emerged as its response to poverty, alongside fueling the efforts of women empowerment and rural development. In 2006, the Nobel Committee, while presenting the Nobel Peace Prize to Professor Muhammad Yunus, asserted, “Microfinance is an important liberating force and an even more important instrument in the struggle against poverty.”

Far from being unimportant at the global scale, the multitude of small-scale transactions that are being organised by the micro-finance systems across the world stand paradigmatically for the shift of rural credit system from the sahukaar-centric (local moneylender) financial institution to a self-sustainable, organised and much more accessible and reliable one. It is a fact that despite having a vast network of formal financial institutions such as banks and NBFCs, there have been severe constraints upon their capacity to make credit available to poor borrowers.

On one hand, bankers perceive the poor as credit risks. The poor, on the other hand, have always perceived banks as alien institutions that exist to serve the needs of the rich. It is in these circumstances that microcredit programmes emerged as a powerful tool to alleviate poverty.

While working in one such well-established micro-finance institution, I am writing this to describe the operational and financial structure of a 30-year-old federation in Kanpur. Boond Bachat Sangh, promoted by Shramik Bharti, is probably the oldest of such organisations in Uttar Pradesh. Their objective is to promote and make possible savings and credit activities among the poor through self-help groups (SHGs) to help and improve economic and social conditions. The other major goal is to undertake community development activities required and demanded by the people.

After visiting a few federations, it came to my knowledge that there is no uniform set of rules and regulations for the functioning of such organisations. A group of people go through a consultative process with SHGs and design an operational strategy suitable to the needs and livelihoods of the community. Having a successful track record and ever-increasing financial capabilities, Boond Bachat Sangh facilitates financial activities of its members. Some of these activities are:

A meeting in progress, to implement digitised platform to conduct meetings more effectively. Sani (the author) can be seen sitting with a laptop. Image has been provided by the author. 
  • Annual Deposit/Compulsory Deposit
    It was decided by the Board of Trustees (which also includes representatives from member SHGs who elected every five years) that each SHG would deposit Rs. 1,000 per year. They will get loans from the federation in multiples of the annual deposit and on the basis of their grading. Federations will pay 6% interest on the annual deposit. Additionally, the SHG may also deposit any money that’s not being used and earn 6% interest on it, which can be withdrawn as and when required.
  • Federation Loan
    Federations give loans to SHGs at 12% interest (at reducing balance). The amount is decided as per the grade from two to eight times their annual deposit with the federation. The member in need of a loan submits a written application form. The sanctioned loans are disbursed in group meetings. The principal as well as the interest is repaid in the monthly meeting.
  • Community Contribution
    The federation receives one-third of the interest received by SHGs in monthly meetings as the group’s contribution towards mentoring services provided by the federation.

At the end of the financial year, 90% of the profits of the federation are redistributed to the member SHGs. I am currently helping Boond Bachat Sangh with complete digitisation of their financial processes.

On asking the women in these collectives about how much this programme has helped them, a woman said, “Pehle toh cycle tak kharidne ki gunjaish nahi thi. Ab ghar le liya, gaadi khareed li, dukaan bhi khol diye (In the beginning, buying even a cycle seemed out of reach. Now, we have bought a house, a car and also a shop).” She has been a member of Boond Bachat Sangh for about 20 years. The federation has helped thousands of such women and helped them and their families to become financially more capable than ever before.

About The Author: Sani Sabale is a 2019 India Fellow, placed with Shramik Bharti in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, as a part of his fellowship. He was supporting the team members to strengthen micro-finance systems in villages to ensure better livelihoods in poor and low income groups. Sani loves to binge watch and his laughter is infectious.

Featured image has been provided by the author.
You must be to comment.

More from India Fellow Social Leadership Program

Similar Posts

By Prakshi Saha

By nishant anand

By Namrata Verma

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below