In CFCAís Hyderabad Project in India, the mothers of sponsored children are encouraged to come together in small self-help groups where they share their concerns, help one another and make small loans to the members of the group.
The mothers typically use these loans to start a small business, pay for higher education or pay for a medical emergency. The loans start small and grow along with the size of the loan pool and the individual memberís ability to repay.
Tuesday I visited the newest sponsored mothers group. Each of these 15 women has a child who has recently been sponsored in the Hyderabad project, and the mothers were applying to start a mothers group.
Starting a mothers group means that the mothers commit to following CFCAís accounting standards and financial transparency procedures for all loans. The mothers must also save a small amount in their account each month, and CFCA matches each memberís savings. The mothersí savings and CFCA match create the loan pool for the small loans. Then, when a motherís child graduates or leaves the program, she is entitled to the portion she has contributed and the CFCA match.
A proud new member of a CFCA mothers group
The meeting began with Rosy and Sukshmana, two CFCA Hyderabad staff members, asking the mothers why they wanted to start a sponsored mothers group. The mothers explained that they had seen the benefits that the other sponsored mothers had gained from being in a small group. They wanted to be able to start or grow their own small businesses and eventually send their children to university.