Dewan Foundation Microfinance Programme The Dewan Foundation kindly funds our microfinance (small loan) programme, giving around 1,000 people annually an opportunity to help themselves and become independent. Beneficiaries join together in a Self-Help Group to support one another and share ideas. Following training in their chosen activity e.g. animal husbandry, beneficiaries receive a small loan to help them to set up a business.People with leprosy are often excluded from their workplaces, homes and villages because of the stigma attached to the disease. They have no way of earning a living, and the lack of financial independence compounds the discrimination faced by this group. Microfinance not only enables livelihoods, but it restores self-esteem and raises the financial status of people who are socially excluded because of how disability and disease are perceived in the community. This helps to reduce stigma and discrimination.
…..and the brilliant thing is that as the loans are repaid they are then given to new beneficiaries, which means that the help goes on and on!
Lily Nath tailoring centreIn 2007, Brighter Future opened a tailoring training centre to help women affected by leprosy, HIV/AIDS, disability and poverty. With the help of funding from The Dewan Foundation, over 300 women are trained annually in all aspects of tailoring, embroidery, fashion design and the use of industrial tailoring machines.The course lasts six months and resulting qualifications are recognised nationally by the Indian Government, enabling women to find employment in surrounding towns and cities. Trainees also have the opportunity to apply for a small loan from The Dewan Foundation Microfinance Programme, to purchase equipment and establish their own business.Graduates regularly return to refresh their training and learn new techniques. Some are now training others, sharing skills and expertise. Garments from our ‘production unit’ are sold to local shops to generate income for the women. We train around 150 women every year, many of whom have now established successful livelihoods, generating enough income to support their families.