Did you know that one of the best investments you can make is providing access to financial services for the world’s lowest income women entrepreneurs so they can build assets and improve lives of their families? Well that’s just what PCI has seen over the past ten years, as Planned Social Concern’s (PSC) micro-credit program has turned an $850,000 private investment into more than 40,000 individual loans with a value just over $14.5 million.
Manju learned traditional broom and rope making from her parents growing up in Jaipur, India, and she wanted to expand the business and make sure it could sustain her entire family. Then she heard about PSC, and in 2009, she used her first $180 PSC loan to purchase bulk supplies of raw materials, including grass and other tools, to save money and increase her output.
Her business was just getting by, but thanks to the loan and her family’s hard work, it has grown significantly. Her husband, Hanuman, has a stall in the old market in Jaipur, where most of the brooms are sold. Manju also sells her products to many local customers, who come to her house to order and purchase brooms and ropes.
Her family’s standard of living has improved along with the profits from the business. As a result of Manju’s strong business skills, PSC recently increased her loan (to about $420) so she can continue her business’s growth trajectory.
As great as the increasing standard of living is, Manju says another important thing for her is the continuation of family traditions and passing those traditions on to the next generation. The recent growth will ensure that she can pass these traditions on for generations to come.
PSC doesn’t just provide loans, they provide hope and dignity for women who are working toward a future of their own making, a future of self-employment and self respect. For each of these women, many of whom face dire and daunting circumstances, their first microcredit loan is nothing less than the onset of a new spring – a moment to finally cast off the shackles of exclusion and poverty. Their futures are based on their own work, not the handouts, put-downs, or good graces of others.
This is truly a contribution that keeps giving.