Savings Groups, Business Development

Helping Families Escape Loan Sharks & Bonded Labor

Economic vulnerability exposes the poor in India to exploitation. Economic stability is a key to keeping families out of the hands of loan sharks, traffickers and legalized slavery known as “bonded labor”.

Hands of Freedom organizes self-managed, voluntary savings groups of up to 20 members. Members contribute a small amount of savings to a group fund, deposited at a local bank, which may be used by members for small loans.

Members are also provided with various vocational training opportunities, particularly home-based manufacturing training (e.g. handbags, cleaners, baked goods). They are also provided monthly markets and local distribution channels via churches and retailers (e.g. baked good booths at church, linking manufacturers to local retailers, linking caterers to churches).

Hands of Freedom also supports business development training that covers topics such as product selection, pricing, marketing and management. Members who have the skill set to start a business are offered this training. Many of these women are empowered by being deployed back in their communities to be change agents for the Lord.