Microloans: How TECH Outreach helps single mothers

*The title of this blog post has been changed from Women of Will to TECH Outreach due to new communication strategies of the organisation. TECH Outreach focuses on projects in Nepal and Sri Lanka while Women of Will work solely on Malaysian projects. 

My flight tickets have been booked for the 9th of May 2016. We, people from the organisation and I, will leave at 18:10 from KLIA 1. This leaves me with 5 days to reach my fundraising goal of RM2000.

I’ve collected RM598 so far and have been amazed by the generosity of friends and family around me. You guys are amazing, you know who you are.

Having had reservations about voluntourism models like this, where people fund their own expenses and fundraise for the charity (read my previous post about how I came round to voluntourism, though I still despise the term), I’m sure there are plenty other sceptics out there too. Well, this post will, hopefully, address the elephant in the room – where your hard earned cash goes to and the impact it makes.

The basics:

  1. Women of Will helps single mothers by giving out microloans (or microcredit as some people like to call it) ranging from Rm1200 to RM2000. These women are the sole breadwinners for their family and support up to 6 kids and a husband.
  2. Women of Will also  want to improve English literacy in rural Nepal through the  School Bridging project. Here, an organisation (a society or a corporation) adopts a school and provides basic infrastructure, an English teacher and a computer room for students in rural Nepal.

“But where will my money be going?”, I hear you asking as you read this on your iPhone 6S (I wish I got that instead of an S7 to be honest, never again Android); it will go to the microloan that the women will receive.

Not a single cent goes towards funding my travel expenses or the organisation’s operational expenses. 

 

WOW microloan
Here’s a little diagram to help me explain what I need to explain.

 

Key facts about this model:

  • The women go through an interview and a house visit to assess if they are suitable for the programme.
  • The women are assigned a business coach after their training, throughout the 12 months.
  • Most women want to start a farming business where they use the microloan to purchase goats, buffalos, cows or oxes to help with the intensive labour. They also breed the animals to grow their livestock, selling the newborns to other families in the area.
  • Other women want to start convenience stores or snack shops and use the microloan to purchase their stock.
  • Loans are repaid at 0% interest.
  • Loans are repaid on a weekly basis over 12 months.
  • Based on a previous project in Nepal that began in August 2013 (and is still ongoing), the repayment rate was 90%.
  • Microloans that are repaid back to Women of Will are given to other women to start their own ventures.

Once your money is in this system, it is recycled over and over and over and over again. The impact you make is multiplied over time and the number lives you change is mind boggling.

You not only help a woman, you help her family. Her children get to go to school regularly because they no longer need to take on odd jobs to make ends meet. They too get a shot at life, at completing their education, going to university and graduating with a degree. You change the lives of her children and her grandchildren.

You give her back her life. She no longer has to become a maid and a gardener and a seamstress and a mother and a wife. She gets to become an entrepreneur and focus on creating a better life for herself and her family.

You give her back her health. I believe that to fight the issue of poverty, apart from food, water and shelter, we need two things: good education and basic healthcare. Give this woman her health and she gets to fight another day.

On that note, here’s a picture of a smiling goat that a woman in Nepal will soon own because of your generosity and kindness.

To donate, simply drop me an email at nicolethekow@gmail.com for my banking details. You can also follow my journey on Facebook too, head over to Nicole in Nepal for the latest updates.

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