Friday, 17 February 2012

Small Initiative, Lasting Impact

Vasantamma © CARE/Hema Padmanaban

A Guest Blog from CARE India

Meet Vasantamma: a feisty 45 years old woman from a small village in Andhra Pradesh and a successful entrepreneur. She has found an equal footing in her family. After patiently bearing years of hardship and domestic discord she can now hold up her head high. Her opinion is now sought in her family and she is looked upon with respect in the family and the community. Just five years ago, her husband would beat her up after drinking alcohol. Many times they could not even afford two square meals a day.
“The turning point in my life came when I was invited to join the Mutually Aided Co-operative Thrift Societies* being promoted by CARE along with a partner NGO" says Vasantamma. “Initially we were reluctant but we gradually started saving Rs.30 every week and now I have saved more than Rs 8000" (USD 175).

When the collective got its first group loan, Vasantamma borrowed Rs 4000 to pay for her daughter’s medical treatment. Her second loan for Rs. 10,000 allowed her to purchase a buffalo. “I started selling milk for the local dairy and neighbours. I purchased groceries and snacks for my children without having to depend on my husband. This motivated me to make timely payments to repay the loan. To date, I have taken out four loans to purchase three buffaloes and three calves. Now we have a well thatched house which protects us in the rainy season and we also have a television,” says Vasantamma proudly.

Vasantamma and many collective members like her have received training on leadership skills, group and fund management from CARE trained microfinance professionals. “My husband’s attitude has undergone a change after I started contributing to the family economy. I am happy that I purchased buffaloes and improved my family’s wellbeing. Now I feel I can manage any situation in my life,” reiterates Vasantamma.
Vasantamma represents millions of women who have participated in CARE’s programmes on health, education and livelihood. The positive changes in their lives pass on to their families, in turn the community and the world.

 Hema Padmanaban
© CARE/Hema Padmanaban

CARE’s Microfinance program aims to increase the income levels and improve the living standards of the poor by providing access to thrift, credit and other financial products and services. CARE works closely with NGOs and Micro Finance Institutions (MFI) providing on-site technical services through a well structured mentoring process covering aspects like Strategic Business Planning and Human Resource Development based on the best practices in the Micro Finance sector.

By Hema Padmanaban, CARE India

Hema has completed a postgraduate course in development management. She has five years work experience in microfinance and was associated with SART (South Asia Resource Team) of CARE.


  1. great job done, Congrats Vasanthamma...
    Nice Report By Hema..

  2. Vasantamma is a strong woman whom I deeply respect after reading this report. She has lifted herself out of another's depressive problem and I admire her for having the strength of two people!