Source | milaap.org
An Earnest Vision
A Modest Beginning
At the end of their presentation, the founders waited. They were hopeful, and anxious at the same time. They didn’t want to let the Sakhis down. They had worked hard on this plan to help the Sakhis. They had devised a solution, working with the Sakhis and their representatives – a branch of Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), a trusted non-profit in the region. They conducted rigorous interviews. And they shortlisted 20 Sakhis who would use the loans well.
20 was a modest beginning. It was a small step towards the growing impact Milaap’s lending community would one day make possible. So they waited with fingers crossed and bated breath.
People Had Faith
They did not have to wait long. At the end of that day in Singapore, many among the audience made loans on the spot. Many pledged their support. Their own friends had faith, and gave generous loans to fund the Sakhis – complete strangers. Captivated and curious about how things would work out. They put up a blog that shared their message. Word spread. The loans began to pour in. In a little over a month, the first shortlisted Sakhis were funded.Loan papers were drawn up. Soon, 20 rural women-entrepreneurs received their loans from Milaap’s first ever lenders. Ranging from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 per Sakhi, the loans helped them increase inventory and scale up business. Loans from real people who wanted to make a difference meant no more stifling interest rates.