You are a 20-year-old kid. Your parents could not afford school. You had pre-decided you did not have it in you anyway. You grew up without anyone noticing how.
You went on to get trained on something as humble as bicycle repair.
You gradually learnt the art and the science behind bicycles – 10 years of that to be precise. You get to know the people who come to get their cycles repaired, and how the world works.
And finally, you think you have everything figured out by branching out on your own.
If you are in India, you have primarily two options –
- Approach your relatives and friends (who are themselves poor, but a little interest on the side would not harm anyone.
- Approach your friendly, neighbourhood go-to guy who makes money go around. The same guy suddenly becomes a toughie when you don’t afford to pay back an instalment. You get owned immediately after – forget the principal, you can’t even think straight about the interest
All this for Rs. 5,000, or Rs. 10,000.
That’s not you, of course. But, that is the real story of Kumar from Karnataka, a 30-year-old who finally decided to get his own business.
Kumar’s story is just one of the countless entrepreneurs who can be found in many villages, towns, and cities. It is inspiring to say the least. We are the people who tend to ignore them.
It is something that most of us here in India relate with, and “think of doing something”.
And then, we forget that. We, the people, are too busy mending our own lives, nurturing our own egos, and fighting our own battles.
We tend to forget that we are the fortunate few. One of those who can afford to pay Rs. 100 without as much as an afterthought, if not for the entire Rs. 10,000 that could have meant using a bus/bike/local train instead of the car.
We are the people who tend to ignore Kumars of the world, but leave it to them to sort out their own problems.
But, not anymore.
Not if you and I could help them at the click of a button with money that would have gone to a dinner + shopping + movie, or as the fortnight’s fuel bill.
Micro-finance to the rescue
You get to help people like Kumar and many others through a system called microfinancing.
Many of us will be familiar with the success stories driven by Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh. He is the best known of people who took microfinance to new levels. He localized the way things work, helped people around him, and made the concept well known.
Microfinance provides small loans to people who are less fortunate with money aspects. It gives them some maneuverability and an option to get out of the debt trap.
And, it can be driven by people like – yes, you and me.
How can you help?
Rangde.org is one of the recent websites I discovered that tries to make a difference. And, you can make a difference as well.
I was hooked when I went through a few stories and saw what people are trying to do in spite of the disparaging conditions around them. All they need is some financial backing.
Rangde makes it easy for you to be that guy or girl.
You select the purpose of the loan (education, vocational courses, microcredit), select regions/people whom you find inspiring and inspire them in turn. It takes as little as Rs.100 to get started.
And that Rs. 100 gets back to you after the loan term if you invest in Micro venture or in a business. You can get interest on your investment if you so desire.
Rangde has put in place an infrastructure to identify potential, qualified borrowers, disburse the loans and collect the repayments. Rangde connects you to the people in need through field agents.
Loans are disbursed at a flat interest that depends on the nature of microfinancing.
Field partners collect the amount as per repayment schedule. Rangde invests a significant percentage in them, collects a 2% fee to sustain itself, and (if relevant) gets you an interest too.
Rangde has won its share of awards and is a recognized non-profit doing its part towards the good of the society.
You, on the other hand, have a well-built website at your disposal. Invest just like you add items to the shopping cart, and pay securely through credit card or through your bank.
You can also track your investments, and track how you are doing your bit at the click of a few buttons and a small amount of money. You could become a larger part of this cycle by getting involved in the activities, or donate to Rangde as well.
So, what are you waiting for?
Visit rangde.org and get inspired today.