Traveling As a Rang De Volunteer
A wise man once said, “The Journey is the destination”.
Why I quote this? Because not all journeys should have a destination, some of them should and are taken for the purpose of the journey and not for seeing a particular place or site.
One such journey I took some time back as a volunteer with Rang De. For those who are not familiar with Rang De but want to do something for this world, I strongly recommend you visit the website of Rang De. Still, I would like to give a small primer about Rang De over here, it was founded by Ram and Smita after quitting their IT jobs abroad with the sole purpose of providing easy loans to small entrepreneurs at a low-cost using the creative crowdfunding methods.
For as low as 100 Rs one can become investor and volunteer with Rang de and contribute to eradicating poverty. The point to note here is that you are not giving charity this is a loan, (at very generous terms compared to the moneylender) and is sanctioned after a proper creditworthiness check.The whole idea is to keep the process IT enabled and transparent for all stakeholders like investors, borrowers and field partners.
As part of the close interaction between borrowers and investors, a Rang de volunteer can join on some of the field trips to various parts of India. I joined one such trip some time back to a small town called Adoni near Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. The idea was to meet around 10 potential borrowers, interview them and see if they are loan worthy or not. We were also planning to meet some past borrowers and see if there is any change in their life and financial condition after taking a loan and successfully paying it back.
We were 6 Rang de volunteers from Hyderabad and left early morning in 2 cars for Adoni. The road till Kurnool is the Bangalore highway and very good. After that, the great rural roads of India started. At places on the road, we found people drying their farm produce like chilies etc. We had to drive slowly to not to spoil the same. Adoni is like any other Kasba (small town) in India, not very big, not very small. Like most small towns in India it has pockets of different community and is divided into those lines, but we were interested in the biggest division of all the financial divide.
The potential borrowers were already doing some small business like Vegetable selling, tailoring, running a small eatery for laborers, but the most enterprising was the Amma as everybody was calling her, running her own masonry business with her daughter and daughter in law while the menfolk worked in Bangalore. She was able to explain exactly what the extra loan of 7-10K will mean to her business, in form of buying more raw materials and building a shed to keep some of the raw material so that it is not prone to theft and elements of nature. She was not only self-employed she was giving employment to 2 of her relatives and one other neighbor, that is the power of these small enterprises.
We returned to Hyderabad in the evening talking about this unique travel and learning experience that not only showed us, city-bred folks, another face of India but also a lesson in entrepreneurship that is hard to learn in the MBA textbooks. If you would like to volunteer for Rang De, you can contact them through the website and join this mission to eradicate poverty using the path of entrepreneurship. This would be one journey that will not only open your eyes but also open new avenues and options for a small entrepreneur. Remember? ” The Journey is the Destination”
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