Tag Archives: Milaap

Stories of Hope: Ramya and Rani

Ramya Elayaraja and Rani Murugesan are two stories of hope from Milaap’s microfinance program in India.

Ramya heads up a group of women who manufacture and sell homemade masala powder out of their homes in the village of Koothur, India. Rani also runs a home based business selling sundries like soaps, shampoos, and facial powders.

The masala business is comprised of five women, all of whom work other jobs during the day, and all of whom received microloans to launch their own business. After their regular daily jobs are complete, the women gather at Rani’s house to roast, grind, blend, and package the masala powder.

When it comes time to blend a new batch of masala, raw ingredients for the powder are purchased from local grocers. A single batch of masala powder can bring the business about four months’ worth of sales revenue. This is how Ramya uses her funds from Milaap to build her business month after month.

Organic Garam Masala

GROWING A MASALA BUSINESS

Word has spread about their masala powder, and the success of the business is growing. The women report that people are now coming from several blocks away as word of mouth spreads into the community. On the crowded streets of India, this type of growing publicity is no small feat.

The Village of Koothur is located in a metro area with more than one million people, 25% of whom live in the slums in and around the city. Ramya and the other women running the masala business, however, have impressively managed to grow and expand a small business under harsh economic conditions.

Demand ebbs and flows, but the women are happy to report that the five of them currently take home at least 1,000 Indian Rupees per month from the venture. The additional income of their masala business has a tremendous and transformative impact on the community where these women live and work.

Indian Food

MILAAP MAKES IT POSSIBLE

Milaap has a unique approach to microlending. Their mission is to make lending “personal, transparent, and sustainable.” These qualities make Milaap an ideal mission partner for Soap Hope. Together we are able to work to eliminate poverty, empower women, and support education where it is most needed, and often the hardest to come by.

All Soap Hope profits, 100% of them, are committed for a full year of service towards lifting women from poverty worldwide through organizations like Milaap. By partnering with microfinance experts like Milaap, we are able to impact the lives of even more women around the world than if we were to do the work on our own.

Your purchases at Soap Hope empower women like Ramya and Rani. It only takes one bar of soap from Soap Hope to fund a woman’s business for 2 days, and a bottle of laundry soap will fund a business for 7 days. Together, we create a lasting impact on the lives of women.

Looking for a quick and easy way to spice up your next meal? Try this DIY recipe for garam masala, courtesy of the Organic Authority:

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon cardamom
  • 1 Tablespoon ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Method

  • Mix ingredients and store in an airtight shaker container.

Empower Women. End Poverty.

(Article written by guest contributor Amy Wynn)

Entrepreneur Magazine recently published an article highlighting the ONE campaign, urging legislators to empower women by promoting gender equality through their work.

“Girls and women living in extreme poverty – those often hit hardest by the injustice of gender inequality – have been left out of the conversation,” the letter says, asking for data, funding and policy changes to support its cause.

Signed by heavy hitting advocates and activists like Sheryl Sandberg, Amy Poehler, Condoleezza Rice, and Melinda Gates, the open letter concluded in a bold statement that read, “Poverty is sexist.”

Women at Risk

Worldwide, women are far and away the most at risk for facing extreme poverty, preventable disease, and other limiting circumstances. As these limiting circumstances increase, it becomes more challenging for women to get access to many basic resources that could help reduce or eliminate the problems.

Soap Hope was founded with a mission focused on lifting women to a place where they have power to improve their own lives, their families’ lives, and the lives of members of their communities.

Why Soap Hope Supports Women

As we’ve discussed on past blogs, women are the backbone of society, key players in the success of communities large and small.

  • Women consistently invest more of their money back into their families and communities than men.
  • The participation of women in an economy is a proven factor in the stability of a country, and has been linked to lower levels of corruption within government.
  • When a woman is struggling simply to eat, to feed, and to access care for her family, there is little room for her to step into a position of active participation within her community.  Women facing extreme poverty are inherently excluded from participating in leadership and decision making, the very fields from which we all benefit the most from their equality and inclusion.

In short, empowering women is good for everyone.

How Soap Hope Empowers Women

To us, empowering women means giving them a voice and an outstretched hand, not only as a way towards an education or starting a business, but also to empower the women as leaders and decision makers in their communities and around the world.

Through our mission at Soap Hope, women are being brought to the table to participate in and lead these larger conversations. By providing women with resources to lift themselves up, we are able to help loosen the grip of poverty on their lives and free them to contribute to their own communities and society at large.

Every dollar of profit generated from Soap Hope purchases – 100% of it – goes out into the world for one year through programs that provide capital and business training to women so they can start, build and grow their own businesses.

From microloans through Milaap in India, to Esperanza in the Dominican Republic, we join forces with our mission partners to plant the seeds of change for women worldwide.

Don’t Let Poverty Persist

Poverty is a global problem. And as the article from Entrepreneur Magazine reminds us, the key to ending poverty is empowering women.

Women around the world, including in your own communities, are struggling to survive, to provide for their children and families, and find themselves severely limited by their circumstances.

We – you, us, and our mission partners – are doing good by maximizing our collective ability to raise women from poverty. Through your purchase of natural, healthy products at Soap Hope, we are able to partner with organizations around the world to make real, tangible changes in the lives of women.

Conquering poverty takes all of us, working together.

Stories of Hope: Microlending through Milaap

We’re grateful at Soap Hope — for our customers, of course, but for our mission partners, as well.

These partners are addressing some of our planet’s biggest issues like poverty and access to education, and they share in our vision of creating impact through bigger innovations.

We’ve previously highlighted what our nonprofit partner, Milaap, has accomplished through their distinctive approach to microlending.

Milaap was founded by three entrepreneurs in 2010 — friends with a vision “to change people’s concept of giving and make it a personal, transparent, and sustainable process.”

Their program and platform are unique — when you give you Milaap, you’re able to choose from a list of eligible borrowers, categorized by their needs and loan requirements. Borrowers receive 100% of the funds, and when the loan is paid back, those repayments accumulate in your Milaap account as credits. You can withdraw your money or re-lend the funds to other Milaap borrowers.

It’s an easy and engaging way to lend money to the causes you care about most: ending poverty, supporting education, or (if you’re like us here at Soap Hope) helping women who want brighter futures.

Supporting Small Business

Vanraj Mahila Mandal is a small collective of industrious women from Dahod in Gujarat, India (pictured above). These women are all running their own small businesses in order to support their families.

Parvati (pictured in the middle) leads the group. She’s a 35 year old woman and runs a petty shop in Dahod, selling items like sugar, rice, and tea to the community. Other women in the collective own similar businesses, selling groceries and other household products, or offering services like sewing.

The loan from Milaap has given Parvati the means to  add inventory in her shop and expand her business. Funding from Milaap ensures a better standard of living for these women and their families, and ultimately the communities they live in.

Supporting Real Impact

By partnering with organizations like Milaap, Soap Hope creates more impact with our profits.

We believe that businesses everywhere can create this kind of change in the world, and the support of our Soap Hope customers ensures that we facilitate bigger change.

Want to learn more about our Soap Hope mission? Visit our Mission page here. 

 

 

//Photo credit: Milaap

Milaap: Connecting People Through the Giving Experience

While the issues of poverty and lack of education around the world are still daunting, we’re grateful here at Soap Hope to partner with organizations like Milaap, who are addressing these problems with innovative new platforms and technology.

Milaap: Creating Connection through Technology

Milaap means “connecting people” in Hindi, and was founded by three entrepreneurs in 2010 — friends with a single vision “to change people’s concept of giving and make it a personal, transparent, and sustainable process.”

The Milaap microlending program is unique in its implementation of a technology platform that allows for people to lend money to a number of people in need.

Lenders are able to choose from a list of borrowers, based on their needs and loan requirements. The eligible borrowers are selected by Milaap’s field partners, who are “established organizations that have a strong presence at the grassroots [level], a deep understanding of their communities and challenges, and a commitment to serve their needs.”

The borrowers receive 100% of the funds, and lenders are able to track the process of the loan through the Milaap platform, where the stories and progress of the borrowers can be shared with a larger audience.

Usha’s Story

IMG_1949_1438344515

Usha is one of the borrowers who has benefited from Milaap’s giving platform and your Soap Hope purchases.

Usha is 28 years old and leads Samanvaya SHG, a company that produces natural home décor products. Samanvaya has been up and running for the last 8 years, and regular production activities have helped its members to support themselves and save for the future. Usha was able to purchase a small facility in her hometown from her savings.

There are other women who want to join Samanvaya SHG, but Usha needed adequate machinery and infrastructure to accommodate more women, which is why she applied for a loan from the Milaap program.

Supporting Usha will allow her to grow Samanvaya and empower more women in her community to support their families and save for brighter futures.

Creating a Wider Impact

By partnering with innovative organizations like Milaap, Soap Hope is able to create a wider impact with our profits. We believe that businesses everywhere can create this kind of change in the world, but only through the hard work and creativity of companies like Milaap that share this vision.

 

//Photography credit: Milaap