Handing Out Money is Anything but Boring
Last Tuesday, I got the chance to attend a loan disbursement at one of WSDS’s branch offices in Motbung, about 30 minutes from Manipur’s capital city of Imphal. A loan disbursement is exactly what is sounds like, handing out cash to groups of WSDS clients who have applied for a loan, gone through training, and been approved to begin a new cycle. It may sound boring (when is a visit to the bank ever not boring?), but I loved every minute of it!
When we arrived, the office was packed and buzzing with excitement. Four different groups of women were set to receive loans. Though only the group representative’s signature is needed, all group members are required to meet in the office on disbursement day. As such, over 40 women were crowded into the office, sitting on small benches, waiting for the next influx of capital to their small shops or growing farm, and curiously wondering what the "sapte" (white people in Kuki language) were doing here.
One by one, the representatives of each group approached the counter to pay the processing and insurance fees for their group, get their repayment schedule and loan card, and sign for their loans, before walking to the back to receive their cash from the branch head. It was all very orderly, and the process went very smoothly. The head of each group even carried her own personal stamp to mark the official documents. Talk about official!
Before becoming a Kiva Fellow, I never would have thought that something as routine and structured as a loan disbursement would excite me, but I couldn’t stop smiling! There I was, in a remote and mostly forgotten part of India, witnessing the final piece of the puzzle: Kiva lenders’ money actually reaching the hands of borrowers.
This lively bunch of women had just been given the opportunity to, in some small way, improve their lives and the lives of their families. Some may see a great change and others none, but I’m just happy that I got to see them take the first step. You can support borrowers like these and learn more about the work of WSDS here: http://www.kiva.org/partners/238