Monday, March 3, 2008

Microfinance and India : third and final part (for now)

I did more digging into the www over the past few days, and my mood has improved considerably with what I have found!

Srinivasa Rao informed me about Vikram Akula, and about him being threatened by local money lenders' mafia. Vikram Akula - the founder and CEO of SKS Microfinance - was named in Time Magazine's list of 100 people shaping our world in 2006. Very impressive work by SKS India so far! Using SmartCards to provide MicroLoans makes it a safe transaction, as well as puts in place accountability mechanisms.

I wrote to mailing address on the SKS Microfinance web-site inquiring about their non-participation as a field partner in Kiva; haven't heard from them yet. I will follow up with my friends in India who are more knowledgeable about this topic later on.

Matt Flannery - the co-founder and CEO of Kiva - maintains a blog called Kiva Chronicles on the Social Edge site. Quite interesting to know what is happening behind the scenes at Kiva.

Social Edge site gives an immense boost to my spirits and makes me believe in the goodness of Human Beings, as well as in the social awareness & spirit of responsibility among Indians (which I don't have a high opinion of so far). There are quite a few Indian microfinance institutions and individuals high-lighted in the various sections of Social Edge. The blog by Bangalore based Sagar Gubbi is a particular favorite of mine as he talks about the places I am very familiar with, and am very much connected to.

Another interesting organization I came across in this journey down the rabbit-hole is ITIHAS and the magazine they publish - Sattva. In addition to being impressed by their efforts towards accelerating social change process, the dual meanings of the organization's name made for a lasting impression. ITIHAS means 'history' in hindi, and the organization spells it as I-think-I-have-a-solution!

This is the last post about Microfinance and India in the near future, as I am putting away my effort to dig further into the world of Microfinance in India. I am satisfied there are many able people with deep social conscience working on alleviating poverty in India through various means.

The discussion titled Microfinance Revisted on Social Edge brings up quite a few interesting aspects of Microfinance. One of the respondents in this discussion states the following:
Though micro-credit is a way of helping people out of poverty, that alone is certainly (not) enough to deal with poverty. I think the most important option is attitudinal change. Success first begins with having a positive attitude. People ought to be taught and educated on the principles of poverty eradication. More attention should be given to the up and coming generation.
I agree completely with this statement, and I will continue on my efforts to bring the attitudinal change in the following ways:
  • Spreading the mantra of Entrepreneurship.
  • Contributing to the health and well-being of Indians by making running popular in India through Run Walk India.
  • Encouraging self-examination and raising the community awareness through Landmark Education courses.
  • Raising the awareness about the value of Psychotherapy in improving the quality of one's life.
Right now, onto my efforts at launching my entrepreneurial career with the trip to Boulder, Colorado to meet with the folks at TechStars!

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