Proper Loan Utilization Key to Maximum Benefit: Gowramma
Gowramma and her husband Lingaiah own 15 guntas of land, where they grow ragi. Her husband also works as a daily wage labourer in a nearby town. Gowramma took her first loan nine years ago from Grameen Koota to buy a pumpset for the farmland to get water from a nearby canal. “With timely water supplied to the crop, ragi has been a more reliable crop for a small land holding like ours,” said Gowramma.
Later, Gowramma expanded her source of household income beyond the farmland by adding cattle and sheep. "Sheep is a reliable source of income during the times of emergency," she explained.Gowramma said proper utilization of loan amount for the purpose taken is the key to peace of mind. Recalling one of the messages from Grameen Koota's client awareness program Jagruti, Gowramma said Jagruti had advised that any loan would work better only when it was utilized for the purpose altogether. “I’ve learnt that utilizing loan wholly for the purpose taken will give maximum benefit and peace of mind,” she said showing her crop of ragi in her field.
Grameen Koota gives me access to finance and knowledge:
Sushma Satish Sushma and her husband Satish, a young couple, manage their family’s vegetable business. Sushma says she was introduced to Grameen Koota by her mother-in-law Latha Jagadish, a Grameen Koota member for 8 years. “I introduced my daughter-in-law to Grameen Koota so that they can take the business forward,” she says. “We benefitted immensely from timely access to capital,” says her daughter-in-law Sushma. “We focused exclusively on expanding the business. What I like about Grameen Koota is the range of their products. We can get loans from Rs. 1000 to Rs. 50,000 for various needs. This is really helpful,” she says. Sushma is very well informed about all Grameen Koota loan products, loan tenure and rate of interest. She has been a member for 4 years. “Earlier, the education loan was Rs. 5000, now it’s Rs. 15,000. It’s very useful. I’m using the education loan to send my daughter to school.” Sushma says while access to capital has helped them expand their business, she equally values the access to knowledge. “We learn so many things from Jagruti,” she says. “It improves our knowledge about social issues.” Her mother-in-law, Latha, says that access to working capital is crucial to build a successful business. “We’ve been in this business for 30 years but before I became a member of Grameen Koota, it was always a struggle to get money when we needed it. Now, we not only get access to finance, Grameen Koota comes to our doorstep. It’s a great relief,” she concludes happily.
I have expanded my business to include seasonal trade – Shaheena Begum
Shaheena Begum and her husband have been scrap dealers for the past 10 years. She has been a Grameen Koota member for 8 of those 10 years. “Earlier, we depended on chit funds when we needed money. The rate of interest was very high. We just borrowed for our needs, we couldn’t think of expanding our business or branching into other areas.”
After Shaheena became a Grameen Koota member, they stopped borrowing. “Our business improved when I got easy access to working capital,” she says. Access to finance also broadened her horizon. “I started a tamrind business,” she says. “Then, I started selling mangoes.”
Shaheena has two children, a 13-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. “Grameen Koota gives me an education loan every year. It helps me pay for my children’s education,” she says.
Apart from easy access to finance, access to information and knowledge has helped her as well, says Shaheena. She is a keen follower of Jagruti, Grameen Koota’s customer awareness program delivered every week, in the form of conversational letters written by an imaginary character Jagruti. The letters are read aloud by one of the women in the group during the loan recovery meetings. “Jagruti sends us letters about women-related issues. She talks about diverse issues ranging from health to money management to our rights. We wait for her letters every week,” Shaheena says, smiling.
Grameen Koota has helped us when we needed it the most: Mubeena Taj
Mubeena Tajand her husband Qutubuddin were running a bakery business that suffered heavy losses. They borrowed money at very high interest rates and struggled to repay and had to close the business. Around this time, Mubeena heard that Grameen Koota had come to her village and were enrolling women members. “I didn’t know anything about financial services or what it meant to be a member of a group,” she says. “My husband was reluctant, but I convinced him and joined Grameen Koota. We took a loan from Grameen Koota and entered the auto leasing business. Now, we’re doing very well,” she says.
Mubeena Taj and her family live in Tumkur. Her husband Qutubuddin says having access to working capital has helped him expand the business. “When Grameen Koota began operations in our village 14 years ago, we did not even have a bank account,” he says. “We didn’t have money to save because of the steep interest rates. Grameen Koota’s affordable income generation loan helped me establish my business. The supplementary loans gave us access to additional capital when we needed it, so we could expand the business and save for our needs as well,” says Qutubuddin.
Two years ago, they used Grameen Koota’s Grameen Niwas home improvement loan to add another floor to their house. “We have rented the space to a tailoring shop,” says Mubeena sitting in their newly constructed home. “It supplements our income. Whenever we have needed help, Grameen Koota has stood by us,” she says gratefully.
“It’s not just about money,” says her husband. “Grameen Koota has given us peace of mind.”
The thought of expanding my business never occurred to me earlier – Nasreen Taj
“I have four tailoring machines now. Earlier I was doing this alone, with just one machine. Now, my husband and daughter have joined the business too,” says Nasreen Taj, a Grameen Koota client for the past 7 years.
Nasreen says she was happy with her single machine and her limited earnings. “The thought of expanding my business never occurred to me because I didn’t have access to finance,” says Nasreen. “I took a loan from Grameen Koota and bought a second machine. My business grew and my husband joined me. Our earnings increased. We bought two more machines. Our daughter also joined us as our business continued to grow. I was able to educate my son from my earnings,” she says. By growing her business and saving wisely, Nasreen says she was able to build a house without taking a loan. Both her children are married.
She says since becoming a Grameen Koota client, she has felt supported on her journey. “I might have still done all this without Grameen Koota, but I would have struggled a lot,” she says. “Grameen Koota comes to my house,” she says simply summing up her almost decade long association with the organization.
Nasreen has now taken an education loan for her grandson. “He studies in a private school,” she says with pride.
Healthcare Card Helped Us in Easy and Cashless Hospitalization: Gulzar
Gulzar, wife of Akram Pasha, has been grateful to Grameen Koota for the healthcare card that provides cashless hospitalization in the best of hospitals within reachable distance.
The healthcare card is provided to customers and their family members by Grameen Koota in collaboration with M.D. Sachidananda Hospitals, Mysuru. Each member pays nominal fee to avail cashless hospitalization in times of ill health or medical contingency for her family. This facility is available for our customers and their families at 40 hospitals across 17 districts of Grameen Koota operations.
The healthcare card entails cashless hospitalization for the members in any designated local hospital. In case of nondesignated hospital, the cost of hospitalization is reimbursed on submission of bills. Gulzar and her family members were able to avail the best of medical care closer to home with the health card.
“My daughter was hospitalized for cholera and tonsillitis and my son Salim Pasha got the treatment for typhoid,” said Gulzar, showing the healthcare card. Gulzar, a long-time client of Grameen Koota, also recalled that her first loan was used to make part payment for an autorickshaw that her husband still drives around. With subsequent loans, she has added cattle to increase her household income.
Grameen Koota Loan Helped Our New Coconut Venture: Savitha
A member of Grameen Koota for over a decade, Savitha has been prompt in her repayments and she is proud of it. "We are grateful to Grameen Koota for providing loans. Everybody in my family is saying that Grameen Koota is good and I should continue," she said.
Recollecting her association with Grameen Koota, Savitha said the timely loans from Grameen Koota helped her meet several life-cycle needs -- whether to expand her business, add one more floor to her house or to pay her children’s school fees.Savitha has a daughter and a son who are studying in a local school and she said the education loan from Grameen Koota has continuously helped her whenever the school fees payment is due.
Last year, Savitha availed home construction loan from Grameen Koota and added one more floor to their house. “Now we have more space to store coconuts and sell them when the price is right,” she explained.In addition, Savitha has three milch cows, providing around 20 litres of milk daily, which is giving the family a constant source of income. Now that they have ventured into coconut business, Savitha is more confident. "Coconut business is any day, more profitable," she said brimming with confidence.
From Customer to Field Officer, a Journey of Success
Three years ago, Nandini, wife of Mr. Basavaraj, joined Grameen Koota as a member when she heard about the organisation from her sister. She took a loan to help her husband buy an auto-rickshaw and earn a livelihood for the family.
She was attending Kendra meetings regularly and never thought that her association with Grameen Koota would one day change the course of her life. When Grameen Koota opened up field officer posts for women, Nandini, who had studied up to PUC, applied immediately after consulting her husband and parents.
Nandini was duly called for a test, which she has cleared successfully and soon her name was on the notice board as one of the successful candidates selected for training as Grameen Koota field officers.
“I was like any other member attending Grameen Koota meetings in the mornings enthusiastically but never thought that I would one day become the field officer and hold such meetings for other members,” said Nandini, recalling her initial days in Grameen Koota.
Sitting in Halagur office, Nandini said she is now confident to overcome any challenges in life. She said she would strive to bring a good name for the organisation which has made her proud. “I feel happy and privileged to be working for an organization which has been transforming so many families," she said with a note of pride in her voice. As life for Nandini changed dramatically ever since she became a field officer, many members in her locality look upon her as a role model.
For Sashi her Home Pays for Itself
For 31-year-old Sashi, construction of a proper house gave her an opportunity to grow her business too.
She joined Grameen Koota five years ago and used her first loan to buy a cow. Sashi repaid the loan and became eligible for subsequent loans, which she used to set up a sericulture unit inside the house.
"Earlier the house was too small for a family of four with a sericulture unit squeezed in," said Sashi. It was during this time that Sashi approached Grameen Koota again for a bigger amount of loan to expand her house keeping in view their future business needs. Based on her regular loan repayment record, she was given Rs.1.5 lakh housing loan that was used for concrete roofing and house expansion.
"After expansion and concrete roofing, we could store more than 100 chandrikas (circular basket material for silk worms) and give them out on rent. Now there is no issue of rodents spoiling the material," said Sashi.
Chandrikas are required at least four times in a month and they are rented out at Rs.12 a piece for one week, explained Sashi's husband Siddharaj. Now they earn Rs.5,000 extra per month from chandrikas alone, which they use to repay the housing loan, he said. "Our house pays for itself now," added Sashi quickly.
Sashi and her husband have become an example for others in the village on making the best use of Grameen Koota loans.
Cattle Unit Big Boon for Mangalamma
Mangalamma, 32, who lives in a village near Halagur in Karnataka, had a sericulture unit initially that was barely enough to support her family. Seven years ago, she joined Grameen Koota and availed the first loan to buy a cow.
With constant source of income coming from the cattle, Mangalamma realised the need to expand her cattle stock with timely loans provided by Grameen Koota. Now, she also has one buffalo, 5 goats and 15 sheep, which provide reliable source of income for the entire household.
"With Grameen Koota loans, we are able to start the unit and grow it over the period successfully," said Mangalamma, showing the cattle in the backyard. In addition, Mangalamma has expanded her sericulture unit with support from Grameen Koota loans to buy equipment. "With Grameen Koota loans, we purchased a stand for silkworms and improved the sericulture yield now. But our main focus has remained our cattle," she added.
Gowramma Sees Bright Future in her Goat Farming Venture
Gowramma, 28, has been a member of Grameen Koota since 2007 and she fondly remembers her association with the organization from the time she took her first loan to venture into goat farming.Gowramma lives in a hut adjacent to a brick kiln, where her husband works as tractor driver. "It was my own plan to start goat business," said Gowramma, recollecting how she started the business.
When she had learnt from her neighbours about Grameen Koota, she said it made perfect sense for her to join the MFI and take loan to start goat farming as she is at home most of the time. Gowramma used her first loan of Rs.10,000 from Grameen Koota to buy goats and build a small shed for them. "I take care of them at home and my husband takes them out for grazing in nearby forest," she explained.
Now Gowramma owns 18 goats. She sells each goat for about Rs. 4,000, adding significant income to her household. During the Bakrid season, she said the price will reach the peak at Rs.15,000 each. With Grameen Koota supporting her throughout, Gowramma is confident to go for the next level soon. She is planning to extend the shed in the backyard of their small hut so that they can add more goats and increase the income.
"We are planning to apply for Home Improvement Loan first and then buy more goats,” she said.With her goat farming going steady, Gowramma knows when and how to scale it up with support from Grameen Koota.
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