We start every meeting with the recitation of the Twelve Decisions. We believe that these principles are essential to creating and living a good life. The women gather in their groups and we take attendance using their group number.
After attendance, the women approach the loan officer and volunteers to pay the weekly installment of their loans. Their payment record affects how they will receive their next loan so there is incentive to consistently pay on time or they might not be approved for another sum.
After they have paid their installment, members who are eligible are interviewed to receive their loans. The trustee asks what business the woman would like to start and what she has done already towards that end. They also determine what sort of quality is present in the woman’s character. It is then up to their discretion how much to lend to the borrower.
The first loans are typically 4,000 to 5,000 rupees. They are paid back in weekly installments of 250. This amount can be higher or lower depending on what is best for the borrower. There is a 10 rupee transaction fee for each repayment, which is given directly to the loan officers as a salary. We require zero interest on repayments. This makes it easier for our borrowers to profit from the loans.
The borrowers are organized in groups of 5. Once the first person has repaid for two weeks, the next borrower in the group will take out a loan and so forth. Each borrower is given a savings account to deposit and withdrawal money on her own free will at the time of loan disbursal.
Many times the branches offer services such as medical camps, blanket distribution, or skill training. It is an important part of what Lifeline seeks to do. We desire that these women have holistic services available to them through our organization.
But there is still so much to be done. Many still lack the health care that they need. They work in the streets selling what they can to provide for their families. More services than just money are required to help them and it is Lifeline’s mission to see that these are provided.