How would you describe the response from the people who benefit from Milaap’s loan offers?
The response from the borrowers has been quite amazing. Since Milaap gives out loans for essentials like clean drinking water, toilets, energy and vocational training education that are not traditionally the focus of microfinance institutions, the demand has been very high. For ages people in parts of rural India have had to make do without toilets, walking miles for drinking water, living in darkness. Now that more people are aware that they can change this, they are coming forward to make use of this. Peer pressure works wonderfully well in these cases – once a group of people in a village get piped water at home, another group is inspired to do the same, and another, and so on.
What ultimate goals do you envision for your organization and the people of India?
We hope to make essential services accessible to all. If basics like clean drinking water and sanitation are taken care of, a lot more time and energy is freed up and it paves the way for real progress. As for lenders, our aim is to make giving a part of people’s everyday life. Currently it’s only the rich, or the very socially conscious who think of charity – by creating a model where small amounts can be loaned out. Instead, we want more everyday individuals to be a part of giving as well.
How important is the element of trust in Milaap’s structure model?
Trust is quite important. But thankfully, so far, people have put faith in us and made the loans. On our part, we put our trust in our field partners, who in turn put their faith in the borrowers. We take all the care we can, and do all the groundwork we can before taking on new field partners, so that risk is minimized.
On the lender part, we know for a fact people sometimes simply put in their money, not really expecting to be repaid -but they are pleasantly surprised when that happens. Here are a couple of such people who were so impressed with the model, they went on to blog about us and lend again!
Milaap is an online platform that enables you to lend to India’s working poor so they can get access to education, clean water, energy and more. It’s a loan, not a donation. This means you get your full loan amount back once your borrower repays it.