Helping others to attain self-sustainability: an Indian tale of success
Business: Sewing and selling of saris
“I can now handle my own finances, independently of ECLOF’s further guidance” says R. Selvi as she looks proudly at her newly purchased loom which brings her and her family an income of USD 30 per sari.
Creating a partnership of equals rather than offering charity – this was the principal goal of our founding fathers when they created ECLOF International in 1946, and today ECLOF India can be proud to have helped Selvi and many others to achieve self-sustainability. Indeed, Selvi is a member of the Mercury Self Help Group which comprises thirteen members. As a group, they have total savings of USD 2,260 and they save USD 2 per month. They lend money internally among themselves with an interest rate of 24% per annum, they regularly conduct group meetings, and their bookkeeping is perfect as they have been educated financially. In sum, they are “a pleasure to collaborate with”, according to our Field Officer, C. Jeremiah.
S. Thangamani, the leader of Mercury SHG, similarly has had a long term partnership with ECLOF. “With ECLOF’s help I was able to boost my business”, she says. Indeed, Thangamani runs an active and busy eatery in Kanchipuram that offers the culinary specialty known as “Idiyappam” (string hoppers), a popular South Indian dish made of rice flour and served sweetened with coconut milk. “With further loans from ECLOF India, I expanded my business which allowed my whole family to get involved in it and also brought harmony in the family”. Self-sustainability, too, as over the course of time, Thangamani was able to buy a small plot of land and build a house.