Earlier this month was International Women’s Day and an Indian news channel wanted to interview my dad for this charity work. His charity has given many loans to women and hence they wanted to highlight the work he has done to help women.
Once the news clip aired we shared it on YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp and the outpouring of support was amazing. The video is below:
What most people don’t know is that for the past 6 years my dad has slowly been working near his village of Shujalpur, Madhya Pradesh to help people in need. He has helped over 50 families and given out interest free loans of around Rs. 10 lakhs (USD $15,000). The default rate on these loans is something that not even a top banker at ICICI Bank can touch. He has had a single default of $60 because the person passed away before they could pay back the loan back!
My dad tells me it’s not about the money for many people, they need guidance. A simple example is someone wanted to open a small provisions store and so may dad gave them a loan. After a month, my dad went back and asked about the sales. That person didn’t keep track, so my dad said get a diary and write down all the sales. Once this person did this, he could see a pattern emerge and realized what sold and what didn’t.
To most people this would seem standard to track daily sales but for many people that’s not the case. This person was able to figure out that certain days were consistently slow, so he would close the shop and go into town on that day to buy more goods. A clear example of where money helped but the guidance and knowledge was much more useful.
For the past 6 years, my dad has kept a blog describing all the people he has given loans to. The stories are really interesting to read, visit ShantiSeva.org to read more.