We are excited to announce that in the last year we have launched our microfinance program in three new villages in Nepal. This unprecedented growth comes after nearly a decade of operating in only two locations, and while those two programs have been very successful we are looking forward to reaching even more families through these new locations.
The new small business loan recipients in the districts of Bajhang, Saptari and Bardiya started their own home business with pigs, goats, water buffalo, or sewing machines. The income from these businesses is empowering them to escape the gripping poverty of their area. Most people in Nepal live on less than two dollars a day, but in remote rural locations like these villages jobs are often impossible to find and families are often forced to split up to find work in other locations, or else live without any viable source of income. The microfinance program provides the capital investment needed to begin earning an income and almost all our previous loan participants have been successful in repaying their loans on time so that the money can be redistributed around the community.
The new loan committees and loan recipients met with ServLife staff to learn more about microfinance and best business practices to help them succeed. For many this was their first ever opportunity to take control of their own earning potential and they were very excited to learn about financial record keeping and business strategies. One woman even learned to sign her name for the first time so she could sign the loan documents. In fact, many of the committees and loan recipients are comprised of a majority of women, most of whom had no formal education or have had their husbands and children leave the area for work. Now they are beginning to earn an income and have independent financial security for the first time.
We are so proud of the microfinance committees and loan recipients for all the wonderful work they are doing to fight poverty in Nepal. If you’d like to get involved and support the microfinance program visit our fighting poverty page to find out more: http://servlife.org/what-we-do/fighting-poverty/