Microsavings and Credit

About 35 – 40 percent of people in West Bengal live under the poverty line. A good number of rural women cannot engage in development or business activities due to their lack of business skills and finance.

Therefore, to combat this problem and empower mothers to start and run their own businesses and enterprises, IIMC Mahila Udyog was founded in 1999. It is also called IIMC Grameen Mothers’ Bank.

Our Micro Credit Programme has been imported from Bangladesh Grameen Bank founded by Dr. Md. Yunus and we have adopted this successful approach. As have more than 50 countries of the world who also follow the Bangladesh Grameen BankÓł successful and effective approach.

This Mahila Udyog aims to provide economic & social support to village women who are living in poverty and have no other economic support. We provide opportunities for these village women to generate small savings and good banking habits.

Loans are provided for enterprises such as:

  • Fish Culture, Fish Business and Hatchery
  • Poultry and dressed chicken business
  • Farming and vegetable cultivation
  • Hotel and restaurants
  • Tea stall
  • Spices
  • Furniture
  • Flower
  • Rice fry (Muri)
  • Bag making
  • Laundry
  • Handicrafts
  • And other cottage industries

Any mother can receive a loan if she has a feasible scheme/plan for a small business. She is given a loan without the need for security (colateral) and can withdraw money in any working day. She is given 4% interest on any savings in the bank. Women are able to pay back their loans and start to save, or apply for another loan.

The aim of the program is to stop the money lending businesses of the village moneylenders who charge the village women high interest. Secondly, it is to make the women economically independent so they can break the cycle of poverty, become empowered and gain the opportunity to send their children to school. The program also collectively improves the standard of living of the village women and improves the health and economic wellbeing of a community.

We have found that another outcomes of the program is that women involved have improved their leadership skills and begun to support and educate each other.

There are five Branches of IIMC Mahila Udyog Unit, namely Hogalkuria, Hatgacha, Chakberia, Kalyanpur and Dhaki. So far more than 30,000 women have benefited from the Mothers’ Bank, and it is increasing day by day.

Other Activities Provided by IIMC

IIMC Mahila Udyog unit also provides free medical services and sponsors children’s education. It provides an adult education centre for the rural illiterate women, financial support to the poorest women for their daughters marriage, financial support for the acute diseases of the group mothers or their husband or their children, bee keeping training for unemployed man and women and vocational training for mothers.

The project has also given deep tubewel for drinking water and about 100 sanitary latrine to villages. We have also given a Bamboo Bridge to help rural people continue their economic activities during the rainy season.

These are added benefits of the Bank and supports whole villages and communities.

Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella as part of Micro-Credit

Mozzarella is the delicious cheese made from milk. Various kinds of Italian foods are made with Mozzarella. The vast market of Mozzarella is in Italy. At present, IIMC authority is creating a market in Kolkata, West Bengal. IIMC Director Dr. Sujit Kumar Brahmochary discussed with the Italian consulate general and other Italian businessmen about the preparation of Mozzarella and also the market. An Italian business woman named Annamaria who also has a business in Kathmandu, Nepal is the owner of Fire & Ice Restaurant in Kolkata.

She brought one technician from Kathmandu, and two boys at IIMC have been trained up to make Mozzarella.

As part of the Micro-credit programme it engages 100 women to purchase cows to provide the milk for this cheese. There is an agreement between IIMC Mozzarella project and the owner of Fire & Ice Restaurant. The production is now 1: 10, i.e.1 Kilo Mozzarella = 10 litres milk. Every day the members of micro-credit supply over 100 litres of milk to the IIMC’s Mozzarella Unit. The cost of milk per litre is Rs.10 to 12 in the local market. But the IIMC Mozzarella project is giving Rs 16 per litre because of their economic betterment. So these women who take out loans from the Micro-credit bank can stand on their own feet and also lead a better life. This makes a big difference to their lives and their families are realizing the impact of the programme