Since 2011, Saath has been running Saath Women Savings and Credit Cooperative Society in rural villages of Dholka and Viramgam block of Ahmedabad for empowering rural women by providing them access to financial services and facilities. Over 3,000 women are member of the initiative and given below is the story of one of our members Rekhaben Maheshbhai Makwana and how the Cooperative has helped her in bringing about change in her life.
Rekhaben lives in the Rampur village if Dholka block with her husband and father – in – law. Her husband used to work in a clothing factory and earn Rs. 2,000 per month. With this small income and due to illness of her father in law and his medical bills it was very difficult to run home for them. To support her family Rekhaben also joined her husbands factory and they were able to earn Rs. 3,000 – Rs. 4,000 per month but they were still not able to meet their daily expenses.
Madhuben our field officer is a relative of Rekhaben and through her Rekhaben came to know about Saath’s Women Savings and Credit Cooperative run in over 100 villages for Dholka and Viramgam especially for women providing them access to savings and affordable credit. Rekhaben became a member of the Cooperative and started saving Rs. 100 per month. Later on she took a loan of Rs. 40,000 from the Cooperative to buy an auto rickshaw for her husband.
Rekhaben with her husband and their newly bought Auto Rickshaw
With the new auto rickshaw now her husband earns Rs. 300 – Rs. 400 per day. Rekhaben took the responsibility of the finances of the home and with the increase in the income she also increased her savings in the Cooperative to Rs. 200 per month. Due to her financial management now they have bought a refrigerator and TV for their home and also able to pay the medical bills of Rekhaben’s father in law and support him better. Rekhaben says, “I’m now seeing good days in my life and a bright future ahead and for this I’m heartily thankful to Saath.”
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.
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.
Performance 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.
Here’s the story of Leelaben an active member of the Saath’s Saving and Credit Cooperative, who has set up her own shop with the help of the Cooperative.
I want everyone to know about and benefit from Saath: Leela Khatik
Leela Khatik in the shop she set up with a Productive Loan from Saath.
She might look like an old, frail lady, but she surprises you with her feisty approach towards life. The 60-odd-year-old woman, Leela Khatik, has been an active member of Saath since many years. She started with the Compulsory Savings Plan and went on to deposit more money in the Voluntary Savings Plan as well.
“Whenever I needed help, my field officer was there. She also helped me through the several loans I took for social events, home repairs and finally a loan, which was the fourth cycle in the programme, to set up my own shop. Today, I am financially independent and have paid off several loans that I had taken from the market, thanks to the support I received from Saath,” said Leelaben.
She added, “I also work at a bungalow after having completed Saath’s Urmila Home Managers’ programme. I am so satisfied with the services I have received from Saath, that I ensure field officers cover any new residents in the area. I want everybody to know about their services so that they can also benefit from this microfinance initiative.”
Story by – Ms. Devina Sarwatay (Intern at Saath)
Saath’s Urban Resource Centre’s are also providing loans for Auto Rickshaws and today we are sharing with you the story of one our client Mr. Dipakgiri Sureshgiri Goswami, who availed the loan services from our URC center.
Dipakbhai is leaving with his family in Guptanagar since last 25 years. There are 11 members in his family, his father, mother and 2 elder brothers both married and have two children each. His father, an asthma patient is unemployed due to health reason.
His mother was working as a domestic worker to run the house. His elder brother left his studies to start earnings through a private job. They have a family house in Changodar village. Dipakbhai started driving the rickshaw on rent to help his family. He was giving Rs.100 as a daily rent for the rickshaw. Maintenance cost of the petrol rickshaw was high and after deducting all the expenses, he was earning between Rs.150 to Rs.200 and that wasn’t enough. Dipakbhai then decided to buy his own rickshaw. He came to know about Saath’s Urban Resource Center through one of our field workers, who informed him about Auto-Rickshaw loans that URC’s provide. He took a loan of Rs.30,000 from URC and borrowed Rs.15,000 from his friends and bought a second-hand rickshaw for Rs.45,000.
Now, he is earning through the rickshaw and is also working in a packaging factory to repay his loan. He shares his experience in his own words: “I am thankful to Saath’s Urban Resource Centre. They have given me a loan and now I am earning Rs.5000 to Rs.7,000 per month after deducting the loan payments. I will be able to repay my loan soon and also I am saving my money for future. My sister-in-law who is working in Saath’s Savings and Credit Cooperative Society Ltd has taught me the benefits of savings which she has learned from Saath’s Micro-finance Centre. Now we are capable enough to give proper education to my brothers’ children and also secure their future through our savings. Thank you very much Saath for your different programs for people like us who are unaware of savings and it’s benefits. And also for URC’s Rickshaw loan scheme.
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
Lakshmi 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.