In India, 44 percent of the population live below the absolute poverty threshold, i.e. they have less than one US Dollar a day for survival! Chhattisgarh is among the poorest regions of India. Many of the people there have no opportunity to free themselves from the vicious circle of poverty without any help.
"ZF hilft" and the relief organization "Opportunity International" are making available loans to the poor who have entrepreneurial spirit and are taking the initiative of trying to improve their life. Regular banks consider these people too risky for credit, because of insufficient security. These credits are utilized to expand small existing businesses or improve the quality of cultivable land. The majority of these businesses involve hairdressers, handicraft operations, vegetable vendors, tailors, snack shops, secondhand clothing shops, and small farmers with tiny bits of land for the cultivation of rice, nuts, or breeding pigs.
Credit facilities are made available to borrowers made up of groups of 20 people, who guarantee the payment by standing security for each other. Due to this mutual provision of guarantees and by coming together regularly, group dynamics are created based on which borrowers support each other not only in business affairs, but also assist each other in case of family problems. Almost 100 percent of the borrowers in India are women, who are more reliable when it comes to repaying the loans granted. The repayment quota is usually better than 97 percent; in the majority of cases, failure of repayment is due to accidents or sickness.
In addition to the provision of purely financial services, the provision of intensive support for these persons is also considered to be highly important. For this reason, they are also provided weekly training on topics such as business management and cost accounting, including advice about issues related to general lifestyle. Thanks to the regular support in the field of social affairs, such as the prevention of AIDS, family planning, nutrition/diet, education, but also domestic violence or alcohol abuse, many of the needy are enabled to change their life in a holistic and sustainable manner. Making credit available does not only help a person and his/her family. Regular repayment will result in that the same amount of credit can be made available multiple times, which will ultimately help many individuals to escape poverty. A typical example is the gradual progress of the entire region around the capital of Chattisgarh, Raipur, with about 2.2 million inhabitants. The requirement for microcredits in this densely populated area is very high.