December 20, Impact 71 : Vicharta Samuday Samarthan Manch

Gujarat


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YVO Impact

#71

Dec 31, 2020

About the Charity

Vicharta Samuday Samarthan Manch (VSSM) as a collective was initiated in 2006, and formally registered in 2010. VSSM works with the nomadic and de-notified tribes in Gujarat, giving them a social identity, citizen’s rights, education, health facilities, housing and livelihood options. Due to loss of livelihood and socio-economic isolation, members of these communities have lost their identities. Most of them do not even have papers to prove their existence. As a result, they cannot open bank accounts and remain in the clutches of money-lenders. These money-lenders exploit the community, including instances of interest being more than 3x the amount borrowed, and forced prostitution. As our society remains negligent towards the needs of nomadic people as well as other marginalized communities even in this modern age, VSSM’s objective is to empower these communities and enable them to live a dignified life.


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YVO Impact

Launched in March 2014, the Swavlamban program offers interest-free loans to members of nomadic communities to start their own independent ventures, including buying hand/camel carts, sewing machines, setting up beauty salon, musical instruments to start a band, carpentry, basketry, etc. The initiative is designed to revitalize their occupations, encourage them to form a habit of saving, free them from debt bondage to private money lenders, and improve and stabilise their financial health. Till date, 3182 nomadic people have been given interest free loans amounting Rs.9 Crore. Due to the marginalised nature of the communities, VSSM’s role goes much beyond providing the loan. They provide mentoring which helps instil values of business and financial planning. Individual guidance is also provided to the beneficiaries. Banks do not have the time, understanding and patience it requires to shape the attitude of the people. VSSM works patiently in tune with the rhythm of their lives, understanding their needs and responding to the challenges in such a manner that it triggers behavioural change from within the individual.