Tag Archives: MFI

3rd Annual Meet of the Saath Cooperative

Last Saturday on 4th Jan, the Saath Savings and Credit Cooperative Society held its 3rd Annual Meet at Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad  in which 90+ people were present including the Staff and the Board members. Here’s sharing with you her experience about the day Ms. Shikha Gupta, Cooperative’s Documentation Coordinator. 

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Meeting colleagues without any official appointments and problems seems to be like a holiday and celebration. 4th January was the day of celebration for the cooperative’s staff. Rewards for the best performances of the year, salary increment letters, simulation exercises, games & quizzes with lots of fun, music & full of motivational learning for the next year happened during the whole day program.

Once in a year all branch teams join each other with full of entertainment and every staff member enjoys the moment. This year the program has been developed with more entertainment and participating and fortunately team could really enjoy & participate in the program.

Three branches performed in the program:- Mehndikua and Vasna Branch teams sung the song and Juhapura branch performed a role play on blind religious faith and controversial saints in the society. A simulation exercise was also performed on vision and courage of the leadership in three teams.

999939_1410480739194957_232652449_nPerformance by Vasna Branch

This year 8 field officers were awarded as best field officers, 3 accountants were awarded for excellence and 2 Office Assistants were awarded for the best supporting staff in the branches. The best branch award was won by our Saraspur branch.

Mr. Rajendra Joshi founder of SAATH and promoter of the Cooperative said that the time has come to expand our expertise in more areas of Ahmedabad as we have experience of 20 years and a strong leadership. Ms. Chinmayi Desai Chairperson of the Cooperative also emphasised on operational expansion and profit growth in the organization.

This year celebration was special as The Cooperative has received the permission to work in the whole Ahmedabad District. Another important thing happened we provided the salary increment letters to each and every staff member for the first time.

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Saath Savings and Credit Cooperative: Member’s story

Today we share with you the story of Lakshmiben, a member of Saath Cooperative, who has taken an asset creation loan from the Cooperative. Given below is her story of association with the Cooperative in her own words:

  • Name of the client: Lakhsmi Solanki
  • Age: 45 years

My savings are safe with Saath: Lakshmi Solanki

B4. Case Study - Asset Creation - Lakshmi SolankiLakshmi displays the bathroom she got made through an Asset Creation Loan from Saath-Cooperative.

My association with Saath started with the Compulsory Savings Plan in which I saved INR 100 per month without fail. I believe savings are very important as they ensure we remain afloat on a rainy day.

Soon enough, I realised that my house needed some renovation. When I discussed this issue with the field officer, she told me that I was eligible for a loan from Saath. The amount, INR 5,000 was exactly what I wanted and the installment and repayment schedule was also very agreeable.

Not only did I make repairs in the house, I also built a small bathroom – a facility which is pretty scarce in our neighbourhood. I am going to continue my relationship with Saath because of the conducive environment. I feel that my savings are safe with them and their loan structure is pretty simple to understand and easy on the pocket.

This story was documented by Ms. Devina Sarwatay who interned with Saath for a month in summer. She visited the field and met the members of the Cooperative.

Saath – Reaching across Generations

Microfinance – Initiated in 1994, Saath first started providing opportunities for savings in a community-based model. In 1999, Saath expanded its services with small loans. As demand grew, Saath established its operations in a more formal manner, with the establishment of a co-operative society structure. In 2002, two co-operatives were formed to work in two different areas of Ahmedabad. In March 2010, all the co-operatives came together to form, The Saath Savings and Credit Co-operative Society Ltd

Here given is the story of one of the members of our Co-operative.

I earn and save with Saath, just like my mother did: Darshana Prabhudayal

New Picture (7)Darshana Prabhudayal, an insurance beneficiary who is associated with Saath.

 As a teenager, Darshana always looked up to her mother, Tulsaben. Not only did Tulsaben take care of the entire house, she also worked, along with her husband, to support their family. When she was alive, she ensured that they made regular payments in the Compulsory Savings Plan with Saath.

Soon enough, she also started taking loans, as when she needed the money. Darshana said, “The field officers always explained the process clearly and my mother would discuss the monthly instalment that she wanted to pay off the loan with. She also had a good rapport with the branch manager.”

One such loan, of INR 30,000, that she had taken, was for home improvement. “While the renovation was on-going, she fell seriously ill and eventually succumbed to her illness. The branch manager immediately contacted us and asked us not to worry about the remaining loan repayment,” she stated.

She added, “That is when I realised that my mother had also taken an insurance policy which helped us clear off the debt at Saath without any hassle. Today, I earn my living and save with Saath, just like my mother did!

With a focus on instilling the habit of savings among people, The Saath Co-operative’s main aim is to offer the urban as well as the rural poor a way of accessing credit that is linked to them having to demonstrate a willingness to save in order to qualify for it. The Co-operative strives daily to promote equal participation of people, irrespective of their religious, economic and social background as well their gender. It provide loans at an affordable rate of interest and try and reach out to areas where no banking facilities are available due to various reasons. Through The Saath Co-operative, we aim to improve the standard of living of the people from the socially marginalised communities and for people living in varying degrees of poverty.

The Co-operative today has 7 branches and has more than 17,000 members cumulative savings of more than Rs. 5 Crores.

Do contact us if you want to visit our Microfinance Programme and know more in detail about it.

Work Wednesdays: Rehanaben’s story

Today we share Rehanaben’s story with you. She has been working with us for ten years now. She was involved in several programmes like the Balghars, Micro-finance and Samvad Community Video Unit. Read about her inspiring life story below!

Rehanaben was born in 1978 in Behrampura area of Ahmedabad. Her father, the sole bread earner of a family of nine, stopped earning after Rehanaben’s elder sister succumbed to injuries of an accident. The burden of nurturing and bread earning for her family then fell upon her mother and her elder brothers, both of whom had to drop out of their high school education. Rehanaben struggled hard to complete her schooling. She sold toffees to her school mates and earned income to carry out the expenses of her school fees. Her struggle to pursue education continued with her aspirations of graduating and post graduating.

Rehanaben came across SAATH when after the 2002 riots SAATH began its relief work in Behrampura relief camps to encourage residents there to get back to their routine and support their lives by generating income streams. Being good at academics, Rehanaben considered joining the Balghar program (pre-school) run by SAATH in the relief camps where she used to teach children and started earning an income of INR 2000 every month. This apart, Rehanaben also spearheaded the task of establishing a Micro Finance Institute in Behrampura. So dedicated was she towards her work that SAATH decided to carry out the daily operations of its Micro Finance Institute from her house in its initial days. In a span of two years, Rehanaben was able to have more than 600 families in the Behrampura area enroll with the MFI and start saving on a regular basis and beginning with microloans gradually.

While Rehanaben continued rendering her services to the MFI, SAATH came up with the concept of using documentary films produced and acted in by the community members to express their concerns over socio-economic occlusions in the community, known as SAMVAD. Initially when asked to join SAMVAD, Rehanaben was reluctant for two reasons; first, she lacked confidence in terms of producing a film and second, she did not want to give up on the hard work that she had put on in establishing an MFI in Behrampura. However, once she started producing films, she came up with brilliant ideas that brought about considerable changes in the community.

Rehanaben filming for Samvad

She describes two instances when she herself had to change to convince community through documentaries produced by her. One of them was when the SAMVAD unit was up for shooting against the Addiction of Tobacco in the community. Rehanaben was reluctant in shooting this film since she too had the same habit. It took her three months to get rid of the addiction which had been with her for quite long .Only then did she produce the film and was so convincing in the film that many youth took an inspiration from this and gave up on their addictions as well. Another path-breaking documentary that Rehanaben and her team made was on the Issue of Adulteration in Ration Shops. This was particularly a challenge for her since she belonged to a family of ration shop owners and the film was to be featured on her own uncles. However, she did not deter from bringing out the grievances of the community and shot the film. So compelling and eye opening was the outcome that the shop owners had to concede to fair selling practices after the screening of the film.

After serving in SAMVAD for three years, Rehanaben got back to the MFI operations in 2009 as it was the work that she had always admired and wanted to be associated with. Presently, she is placed as the Branch Manager of Sankalitnagar Branch of The SAATH Savings and Credit Co-operative Society. She describes being associated with SAATH as a major change in her life. “I had no knowledge on computers. It was in SAATH that I learnt many new technologies and also produced films” says an overwhelmed Rehanaben.

Rehanaben has been a paragon for most youth in Behrampura slums. Her undying valor and courage to step out of the confined four walls of the house confidently for serving across communities, has set up an example for many families, who now send their daughters to school and expect them to be self reliant like Rehanaben. Rehanaben is the face of Behrampura and will inspire people there to move ahead with their aspirations no matter what comes their way to make their lifestyles better and uplift the area.