We at JoyCorps are excited about the Community Fund, which offers interest-free microloans to the artisans in our communities. The loans are used only for urgent, basic needs such as housing, transportation, medical care, or education.
Instead of simply raising funds and giving these things away to people who need them, we offer them a chance to demonstrate the accountability and responsibility required to get a loan and pay it off. Our artisans feel enormous pride when they can say, “I bought this myself.” It gives them a sense of ownership they do not get when they’re just handed something.
Thus far, the Community Fund has worked remarkably well; it has funded two houses, six vehicles, four medical procedures, and one land purchase. All of these loans are either paid off or on schedule.
Because of the fund, a couple with four children was able to move out of a one-room shack and into a house. Malti was able to pay lawyer’s fees and reclaim her family land. Several people, including Karma and Nyima, have been able to purchase scooters for quick, reliable transportation to work.
The loans are a godsend to many of the artisans who otherwise would not have the opportunity to raise funds for urgent needs. Many cannot get approval for bank loans in India; either they are refugees and lack the proper paperwork, or they have zero credit, or they are living hand-to-mouth and can’t save up enough for down payments.
The beauty of the fund is that it is run by the local artisans themselves. They put together a list of guidelines and policies dictating the parameters for the microloans, they wrote the loan paperwork, and they developed a required pay schedule for loan recipients. Given the chance to prove their business skills, they have done amazingly well! The locally-run fund has also fostered a sense of generosity in the community, as the artisans are taking care of one another.
But we can do more. We would love to grow this fund, so it can meet the needs of the artisans’ extended family members and handle multiple loans at a time.
If you would like to help us meet our growing community’s needs, please consider giving to the Community Fund.