As you may know, I founded a direct selling company in 2006 for the sole purpose of giving 100% of its corporate profits away to help those in need. We funded projects according to the “Teach a Man to Fish” principle, giving money that helped people help themselves. In our 3 years in business, we helped to build a medical school in Africa, provided educational toys to children through Toys for Tots, and more.
So I was impressed when I learned about a new, more sustainable model of giving that doesn’t include charity at all. In 2010, three entrepreneurs determined to fundamentally change the way people fund and impact communities, created just that. Milaap, a unique platform that blends micro lending and crowd funding was founded four years ago in order to help India’s working poor start their own businesses and break out of the cycle of poverty.
What I find unique about Milaap is that, unlike other fundraising platforms, Milaap blends micro lending with crowd funding, giving investors from around the world the ability to both lend and/or create personal fundraisers for India’s working poor. These micro loans – which start as low as $25 and are repaid in full at the end of the loan term – are a terrific way for people like you and me to help those who really deserve it. And since its founding, Milaap has had a 98% repayment rate, which I think you’ll agree is remarkable.
As an industry, direct selling has had an incredible impact on the lives of women all over the world. We have helped people break out of poverty and gain the dignity that comes with being empowered to control your own financial future. Milaap helps the poorest of the poor in India achieve this same sense of independence.
There are so many heartfelt borrower stories for Milaap’s flagship campaign in 2014, The Hope Project, which aims to raise $100,000 in loans for former Devadasis. Pronounced “day-vuh-daah-see,” and meaning “servant of God,” these women are hereditary temple dancers often forced into prostitution and marked by societal stigma. Funded by The Hope Project, these women can now start their own businesses in areas as diverse as cattle rearing, tailoring, and heavy equipment maintenance.
These newly turned rural entrepreneurs —91% of whom are illiterate—are now self-reliant, supporting their families with a new lease on life. Check out the infographic on the impact Milaap has had on these women, mothers, children and families for generations to come.
Milaap is celebrating its fourth birthday on June 16, 2014 by inviting change agents from around the world to join in a global, round-the–clock online conversation on sustainable giving. This promises to be a really interesting event, which you can join on a range of social networks by using and following the hashtag #Milaap4Hope.
I am proud to have passionate and caring readers like you, and I hope you’ll be inspired to lend to the cause, share it with your networks and participate in a unique opportunity to engage with folks around the world online during Milaap’s 24-hour digital takeover celebration on June 16.
Are you in?