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
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.