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Savings and Credit Self-Help Group Scheme
Empowerment through Trust and Accountability
Imagine entering a bank to request a small loan for the purchase of fabric so that you can continue to provide sustainance to your family through your handicraft trade. The banker, reviewing the request and your lack of collatoral, promptly rejects you.
SHIRKAT hopes to ensure that this never needs to happen.
Women constitute a sizable section of the poor, the unemployed and the economically and socially disadvantaged group in our society. Often, the financial needs of these women are too small to be entertained by formal financial institutions. For their frequent financial needs lower-income women are then dependent on local money lenders who charge an exorbitant interest rate.
SHIRKAT, a self help group, is formed by women of a common locality, trade etc. for the periodical collection of financial savings. After collecting a sizeable group account, they then begin to make loans to group members in order to free them from poverty, the clutches of money lenders, and for empowerment. Loans are given for productive as well as for non-productive purposes. These loans are not from a faceless institution, they are from one's own savings along with the savings of friends and neighbors, making the assistance more bearable and human. The basic objectives in the formation of a SHIRKAT are to ensure the poor:
- sustenance of their existing employment
- generation of new employment opportunities
- assets redemption
- fulfilling “unproductive” needs e.g. sickness, marriage, school fees etc
SPRAT adjudged the best Small NGO of Western India, and one of the 13 best, all India, by the Resource Alliance - Nand and Jeet Khemka Foundation for 2007.