Reaching out to the poor

BANGALORE: In 2006, when Muhammad Yunus, the pioneer of micro credit (small loans) lending schemes for the poor in Bangladesh, was awarded the Nobel Prize for his exemplary work with the Grame

Published: 05th March 2012 03:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:29 PM   |  A+A-

05poor01

(Express News Photo)

BANGALORE: In 2006, when Muhammad Yunus, the pioneer of micro credit (small loans) lending schemes for the poor in Bangladesh, was awarded the Nobel Prize for his exemplary work with the Grameen Bank, it inspired millions around the world.

Rang De, a non-profit organisation in India was one of them.

The words Rang De reminds you of India’s struggle for independence and that was the thought behind it’s name, to have a movement with similar urgency to eradicate poverty in the country.

In 2008, they started it as a small experiment with a long-term vision of lowering the cost of micro-credit, as the industry rates were extremely exorbitant.

Rang De ensures that interest rate of any income generation loan does not exceed 8.5 per cent per annum.

Their vision is to make poverty in India a thing of the past, by reaching out to the poor and under-served communities through microcredit.

They facilitate small loans for people in the country who have no access to credit facilities.

Co-founder and chief operations officer of Rang De, Smita says, “We use the internet to connect to our social investors.

We identify them with the help of our committed field partners or NGOs, who are chosen with a lot of care and after research.” While the Grameen Bank’s model was focused on development, where profits were just an added bonus, similar success couldn’t be replicated in the Indian model and the recent failure of the micro-credit schemes in rural India was much talked about.

Though the failure could be attributed to a number of reasons such as irresponsible growth of micro-credit industry in India and involvement of private organisations, we asked Smita if their organisation has similar concerns.

She replied, “Commercial capital used to fund these micro-credit schemes led to the crisis.

We are looking at philanthropic capital and social investors, who are looking to contribute and make a significant difference to other people’s life.” Presently, Rang De is involved in projects in 13 states including Orissa, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and is also working with some of the North- Eastern states.

In Karnataka, they still don’t have a wide presence as a lot of time goes into searching for a committed NGO that share the same passion as Rang De.

Gramothan Foundation in H D Kote district and Karuna Trust in B R Hills are some of their field partners here.

Rang De has its headquarters in Bannerghatta, Bangalore and it is run by a team of 11 passionate members comprising two cofounders, a web designer, a finance manager, associate VP of social media and marketing, and a filmmaker, among others.

Seeing the surge in educational loans, Rang De is planning to provide loans to rural students as well.

Visit RangDe.Org for more information or lend `100 onwards to micro-entrepreneurs and make a difference.

The website also features details of borrowers, their occupation, amount raised and pending amount which is to be raised.

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