Three members are affected by leprosy and the others are classed as below the poverty line. The group has bought items to rent out, including a lamp, large containers for cooking and water containers, for people to use in special events, such as weddings or other functions.
The leader of the group, Jairam, says, ‘We used to charge 2% interest, but we decided that was too high, so we reduced it to 1% per month. I keep records of utensils rented – after the marriage season; I take the accounts to the group.’
Before the self-help group was established, the men went to money lenders who charged 5%. Now when they take a loan from the group they pay interest back to the group and into their own joint savings.
Kesawai, who took a loan for his daughter’s marriage, says, ‘If I had not been able to take the loan I would have had to ask from another person and pay 5% or 10% interest or I’d have had to sell my field.’
The men also have plans on how to increase their profits. Jairam says, ‘We want to have a type of cinema which could be used in marriage functions. If we have that business we’ll get 2,000 rupees per show; it will cost around one lakh rupees [100,000 Rs]. We need at least two years to save one lakh.’