Women beneficiaries of a microfinance project being implemented by RC Chennai Galaxy, D 3232, have become successful entrepreneurs with regular training imparted to them at the two centres of SPS India Foundation, an NGO. This multi-district project involving international partners — RC Geleen, the Netherlands, District 1550, and Districts 1870 (Germany) and 1630 (Belgium and Luxembourg) — aims to free women SHGs from the clutches of private money lenders, who charge very high rates of interest, even as they were unable to access bank loans without any collaterals.
Under the Women 1000+ project, the club offers loans up to ₹15,000 for an entrepreneur at an interest rate of 1.2 per cent a month or 6.6 per cent as cumulative interest for 10 months by which time they had to return the money. Till now, the project has disbursed ₹35 lakh to nearly 300 women from 40 groups at Basin Bridge in Chennai, and Vilathikulam village and Kovilpatti in Tuticorin district. Recently, the club has raised the loan ceiling to ₹30,000 for borrowers at Basin Bridge.
“The total project cost is $108,000 and we have time till July 2018 to disburse the sanctioned loan amount,” says Anshul Agarwal, President, RC Chennai Galaxy.
The club has given ₹30 lakh to SPS Foundation for training the SHGs at its centres in Basin Bridge and Vilathikulam. “There is no timeframe for imparting training to women entrepreneurs and the amount will also take care of administrative expenses at these centres,” informs Anshul.
Vocational and leadership skills and other nitty-gritties of running an enterprise such as profitable investment, transaction deals, documentation and account-keeping are taught at the SPS centres. During their visit to Vilathikulam recently, a Rotary team led by Anshul found that women are being trained in profitable ventures such as trading in goats, fish, agriculture, garment retailing and basketry.
Veeralakshmi (28) from Muthalipatti village in Tuticorin purchased a goat and upgraded her farming with a loan of ₹ 15,000. She is the first woman graduate in her village and feels education of girl children is a must for empowerment. “I motivate members in my Sembaruthi SHG to send their children to school and save enough money for the future.”
After being trained at SPS centre in Vilathikulam, her SHG members had improved their monthly savings to over ₹200.