The Rural Microcredit Program
One of the programs, the Rural Microcredit Program—open to women only—is based on the successful experience of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Following the Grameen model, five women from the same impoverished rural community organize themselves into a group. They apply for and receive loans jointly, but each woman runs her own individual or family business. With each loan the group repays, they become eligible for a larger one.
The women meet regularly to support each other and share experiences. They also form a “circle” with up to five other groups in the area. ASAPROSAR staff work with the women to promote leadership development, health education, literacy and improved business skills.
ASAPROSAR runs a second microcredit program, Urban Micro-Enterprise —open to both women and men in poor rural and urban areas. The people organize themselves into credit circles of 15 to 30. Again the loan goes to the group, but each individual runs her or his own business.
The borrowers buy and sell food, clothing and anything else there’s a market for, from quail eggs to piñatas to beds. They set up stores, bakeries or restaurants in their homes. They sew and sell clothes, raise animals, repair bicycles. Several receive training through ASAPROSAR’s eye clinic to do vision exams and sell reading glasses.
The microcredit program transforms many lives. People can now afford to fix up their houses, buy medicine and educate their children.
Related Article: Rural Microcredit – The Focus on Women