I Dreamed of a Better Way
August 14th, 2019 by kmcvaney | | Posted in Field Updates
Hi. My name is Chitra.
Becoming a small business owner has not been an easy road. Because of safety and distance, my parents made me drop out of school. Like many teen girls in India, I was forced into marriage. Although I had a longing to do something significant in my life, I felt lost without an education or skills. I became homebound tending to housework. But I always dreamed of something more.
More than 25% of Indian girls are forced into marriage by the age of 18 and in many cases to older men.
Through a micro-credit loan, I purchased my very first sewing machine and began my business. I made enough money to pay off my first loan and apply for another one to expand my business. I dreamed of a better way and I had other women standing with me—helping me to see that I have value in God’s eyes.
I was invited to attend an IGL skill training center near my village. A community worker met with me and encouraged me to enroll in a 6-month course. I was so excited to have an opportunity to gain skills and better myself. After finishing the course, I was invited to join a Women’s Transformation Group (WTG). The women in this group mentored and encouraged me. I learned about women’s social issues, about finances and how to create a business plan. I’m so thankful for these opportunities. I now dream of encouraging and helping other young women.
How India Gospel League Helps Women Gain Skills and Training
Women’s Transformation Groups provide six months of training and mentorship. When a woman joins a group, she learns about personal finances, writing a business plan and procuring equipment and supplies for business. After completing the six-month program, women are eligible to apply for a micro-credit loan. The program has a 98% success rate with accountability and repayment. As loans are repaid, funds are reinvested into more loans. The average loan amount is $150.
39.4 % of girls ages 15-18 years old in India are not attending any educational institution. Of the girls who drop out, 64.8% do so because they are forced to take on household chores or are engaged in begging.
Many of the women who get the opportunity to get a microcredit loan have never stepped out of their village. They begin to see themselves as valued members of their villages. They become confident business owners who not only contribute to their household but also employ other women.
1 AFP / Feb 05, 2018 / NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR PROTECTION OF CHILD RIGHTS
2 India’s Forgotten Child Brides / National Geographic / BY NINA STROCHLIC / GIRLS NOT BRIDES