Ruma Pandi often felt overwhelmed by the economic demands placed on her, living in an impoverished village in southern India. Her husband’s income from working for a construction company wasn’t enough to meet their family’s needs. Ruma struggled to manage their limited finances and ensure that their two children were healthy and able to study.

With support from Presbyterian World Service & Development, the Madurai Non-Formal Education Centre (MNEC) is working to empower vulnerable women like Ruma with the tools they need in order to break chronic cycles of poverty.

Owning livestock provides women with a valuable source of household income as they are able to sell excess meat, milk and eggs. They can use the additional income to buy more animals and expand their businesses.

Owning livestock provides women with a valuable source of household income as they are able to sell excess meat, milk and eggs. They can use the additional income to buy more animals and expand their businesses. Photo: Paul Jeffrey

After learning what MNEC was doing in her community, Ruma joined a self-help group. Working together, these women save, access small loans and learn the business and literacy skills needed to run a successful small business.

With her first loan, Ruma began a business selling milk for a small profit margin. Through successive loans, she was able to purchase a cow so she could produce and sell her own milk for more profit. When asked about her plans for the future, Ruma says she hopes to buy two more cows to further grow her business.

The difference small business and micro-finance programs are making is truly transformative. Women are empowered to take control of their futures and improve the living conditions of their families. With the profits they generate, Ruma and other women just like her are able to purchase nutritious foods, invest in their homes, access medical care and lift up others in their community.

We Respond Together

$1,000 supports a group of women to start and manage a savings group.

Your gifts provide literacy, vocational and business management training to marginalized people. This helps them access credit, start their own businesses, earn sustainable incomes and discover new opportunities.

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