Poverty in the Midst of Scenic Beauty
The tea plantations are beautiful from a distance, but when a visitor draws close, the region's grinding poverty becomes clear. In the midst of such poverty, a different kind of beauty is emerging in the hopeful smiles of TOLI loan recipients...and even in such sights as pigs!
A year ago, TOLI opened a new microloan project in the Duars region, in the foothills of the Himalayas of northeast India. TOLI started slowly, with just ten initial loans, to learn what kinds of businesses will succeed, to allow Ashish, the new project administrator, to learn his position, and to establish strong relationships.
With the support of Ashish, the original businesses are improving the owners' financial stability, recipients are repaying their loans, and the proceeds have been successfully rolling over into new loans for others. We have identified three main business models as successful and, with an additional infusion of funding from TOLI, new recipients are now replicating those in three other nearby villages.
One of the first recipients, Ajit, bought a female pig with his loan. She bore ten piglets, and though six of them died, four of them lived. He sold two of them to repay the loan and to construct a small enclosure for his "pig farm." Seven of the new loans are for pigs, and TOLI has increased the loan amount to cover a medical allowance. Another four of the new loans - for goats - will follow the same model.
Another loan recipient, Mamta, invested in a sewing machine and now has a small shop where she sews and sells clothes to neighbors. The loan was for 8500 Rupees (about $125), and she now makes about 1000 Rupees/week, a nice income that allows her to support her household. Five of the new businesswomen are following this extremely successful model in their villages.
Following a more complex business model, Daniel is running a shop where other villagers can now buy what they need. In the photo, his mother is shopkeeper.
We thank the Lord for TOLI's expansion in India...
We are grateful for the entrepreneurial spirit of men and women who are eager to provide a good living for their families!
We are especially grateful for our one-man staff, Ashish Subba. He reports that the project is booming - and so is the paperwork! Therefore, TOLI has equipped him with a laptop and printer so he can better organize the "office." In addition to training, managing and supporting the microloan projects, Ashish really serves as a pastor and evangelist through his work with the families. TOLI's holistic ministry is bringing the blessing of God to every aspect of life in these villages.
Please Join Us in Prayer
Pray God’s blessing on the new loan recipients and their families.
Pray for Ashish and his ministry and outreach, especially as TOLI grows.
Pray for provision of funds needed to expand projects to other villages in the tea plantation area.
Thank God that TOLI has been able to wire funds into India and Egypt, and pray that this will continue, even though government restrictions are making the process more complicated.
Pray for wisdom for the TOLI board, as they consider various new opportunities in Egypt as well as Albania.