Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Field Partner: People's Forum empowers vulnerable women in India

We're excited to welcome People's Forum as a new Field Partner in India!

Since 1989, People's Forum has been working to develop rural regions and communities in the Indian state of Odisha. Recognizing that many factors contribute to poverty in these areas, the organization has established programs in mental health, elementary education, human trafficking prevention, income restoration, drought mitigation and health and hygiene awareness.

People's Forum clients outside a local branch.

Based in the belief that women are the backbone of rural economies, People's Forum started a microfinance program targeting women, called Mission Annapurna, in 1994. It has since grown to 30 branches across Odisha and neighboring Chattisgarh, and helps over 120,000 rural women gain access to the resources they need to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty.

Kiva loans will be used specifically to fund borrowers from vulnerable, socially-excluded groups -- including widowed women, the disabled, leprosy-affected individuals and others who have historically had no chance at making a sustainable living for themselves.

Kiva borrower Shantilata among the terracotta statues she makes and sells for a living.

But credit is only one piece of the puzzle. People's Forum also offers female borrowers additional financial services like micro-savings, micro-insurance, and non-financial services like business literacy training, development services and market access. Armed with knowledge, means and support, over time these women are often able to invest their own money to keep their businesses growing.

In addition to Mission Annapurna, People's Forum supports rural women through the following initiatives:

Mission Ashra: A rehabilitation home for mentally-ill women who can no longer be cared for by their families. The only institution of its kind in eastern India, it provides comprehensive medical rehabilitation programs for adults and children, and has reunited 620 women with their families in the last five years.

Mission Ashayen: Aimed at re-orienting women who have been trafficked as sex workers or forced laborers, this program provides livelihood training and development services.

Mission Asha: Providing elementary education to children whose families cannot pay for their studies, this program currently runs two schools, enrolling about 600 low-income students.

Through People's Forum, the funding provided by Kiva lenders like you will help change the lives of the people in these communities by providing them with cost-efficient financial products, along with training and support tailored to their needs.

Lend to one of People's Forum's borrowers today! Or learn more about the organization on its Kiva partner profile page.

One of Odisha's smallest residents, and prospective future entrepreneur.

Have questions about lending in India? Send them our way at

Photos courtesy of Kiva Fellow Suneetha Kanchustambham.