While many of us here in India are beating the heat, the summer season is also a time for a vacation for school/college students. While most of them are on a holiday there are few who take this break as an opportunity to learn new skills and to help a social cause.
We came across one such enthusiastic college student who applied for an internship and told us how passionate she was to use her vacations as a time to help us out. We guess that's what stands out in such applications compared to the others that we receive everyday.
Meet Riya Rajagopal, a first year undergraduate business student at Singapore Management University who knew she wanted to work with Milaap the day she researched about Microfinance. She would be here with us for two months where she would help us with corporate events and also work on the content part.
We wanted to know what she's been doing all this while, so we ended up having a small chat with her. This is what she had to say -
Q) So Riya, tell us about yourself & your prior experience before joining Milaap
I finished my schooling in Bangalore, and am currently pursuing an undergraduate business degree at Singapore Management University. I have close to no prior experience, which is why I’m looking forward to learning something new at Milaap!
Q)And how did you hear about our organization?
I was searching for an internship with a microfinance organisation and found Milaap online. I was impressed by Milaap’s success and wanted to know more about how it worked and what went on behind the scenes.
Q)What was your motivation for joining Milaap?
Being a social enterprise, Milaap provided me with an opportunity to do good for the society. At the same time, the chance to work in a start-up run by inspiring individuals not much older than myself was too good to pass up!
Q)What is your expectation from Milaap?
I expect to pick up new skills as well as learn a lot about the various processes at Milaap. I also hope that the role I play impacts and contributes to the lives of the less fortunate.
We are happy to have you on board Riya, we hope you make the most out of these two months here in Milaap!
Meet Prasanthi Guda. She is one of our rockstar lenders who started lending on Milaap just a few weeks back. She was so enthusiastic about the work done by Milaap that she ended up impacting more than 40 families staying in rural India. Way to go Prasanthi! :) We were curious to know more about her, her life and the reason behind her support for sanitation projects. We recently had an opportunity to have a conversation with her. This is what she had to say:
Q1) So Prasanthi, how did you come across Milaap.org? I visited your website after one of my friends invited me over to a talk by Sourabh last weekend at her house. I attended Sourabh's talk to find out more about the work done by Milaap and was impressed by the projects undertaken so far and the work being done. I liked how the support was customised toeach of the borrower's needs for a specific cause and how the same funds can help someone else when one borrower's needs have been met.
Q2) Any special reason for the focus on sanitation?
I believe that proper sanitation is the very least every family must have access to. It is a question of basic dignity of a person. With women and children in India struggling for this everyday basic need, (the lack of which leads to many other problems) - this is something that I feel has been neglected for a long time. With so much work to be done in India, it's just that a lot of other causes take up more attention than this one. It was surprising to see how little it takes to make a huge difference to the lives of these people and how their everyday lives can be improved with just a small contribution. That is why I wanted to focus on sanitation projects.
Q3) Motivation for making a loan on Milaap?
I was touched to see how a team of young people at Milaap are striving to make a difference to the lives of many in India. I am sure there are many of us who want to contribute but don't know how and where. If we can be convinced that our funds are being put to good use and are assured that the money is reaching the people it is intended for, I believe that a lot of people out there would be inspired to join this effort. While Milaap is new to me, I see the effort made by the team and felt that it was important to lend a helping hand to them in their efforts. Besides, the individual profiles of the borrowers you have posted on your website helped me make a very real human connection with them. It was all very real to me. That was the real motivation for me to help out.
Q4) What is the other area of focus you would like Milaap to raise funds for if any?
I Am happy with the options you already have. It may be important to dig deeper in some areas before stretching out far and wide to other causes as it takes lots of resources and funds to identify good partners to work with but I do hope that women and children can continue to be a big focus when Milaap identifies future projects to support.
Q5) Any feedback for us on how we can make the experience of lending much better for our lenders?
A fine job with the website and the process you already have! Just hope to get more of my friends onboard to support Milaap! Well done!
We notice that Indian woman majorly need support when they dream to start their own enterprise or want to undergo a training program to become independent. Most of the women in rural India lack confidence to ask their husbands or go to a bank for initial capital. For such women, all they need is a little help and they are good to go.
Meet Geetha Jegan, CEO of Gramalaya Microfin Foundation (GMF) a non-profit based in Tamil Nadu. She realized she needed to do her part in empowering women. For those of you who are unaware, GMF is one of our field partners who we raise funds for in support of women entrepreneurship and skill development in India.
Geetha's dream is to support entrepreneurship for those women who stay off the grid and help them to provide income to support their family. She adds saying, " Women possess a lot of capacity, but we don’t fully utilize it. If we create and support women empowerment I believe this can be the key to the development of our country. By supporting women, the entire family will benefit and we build their confidence to tackle gender discrimination."
Our folks atSocial Story spoke to Geetha about her organization and the impact that's being created by the funds being generated through us. Read the complete articlehere and see how little effort it takes to empower a woman! :)