Financial inclusion

Giving slum dwellers access to Financial Services

Creating the ability to borrow at reasonable rates, and to have a Bank Account to save

Many people around the world consider having a Bank Account as normal. This is not true for many slum residents where literacy and numeracy issues have traditionally made banks very cautious in opening bank accounts for slum residents.

Asha has built relationships with key banks in Delhi, giving opportunity for slum residents to have direct access to banks so that accounts to be opened for savings, and loans to be sought and approved at favourable rates with Asha’s help.

This completely different approach is better for the slum residents than traditional MicroCredit and MicroFinance schemes that generally require an intermediary between the borrower and the bank, with the borrower not having the opportunity to build a trusted relationship with any particular bank.

With Asha’s help and support, direct relationships are formed between Bank and Customer, supported by specialist staff in Asha, who are focused solely on the financial inclusion scheme.

Financial Inclusion
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The problems

The slums of Delhi contain a large proportion of the city’s workforce

Hard work with little job security

Slum Residents are most of Delhi’s casual workforce.

  • Slum residents make up a large proportion of the casual workforce in Delhi.
  • Work tends to be low paid and on a daily basis, with little or no job security.
  • A worker may not know what work they will get from day to day. Some are more fortunate, with regular, known, work.
  • The most typical jobs are Rickshaw pulling, domestic cleaning, cooking, building labourer, as well as operating or helping in Tea Stalls, Cigarette Shops and small service businesses such as Tailors.
  • Some earn a reasonable daily income, and many send money home to families living outside Delhi in villages.
  • Having a safe place to place money earned, enables residents to put some money aside for times when work might not be readily available.
  • Access to bank accounts to keep money safe is a big benefit of Asha’s Financial Inclusion programme, providing security for any money to be sent home, reducing the possibility of hard earned money being stolen from slum dwellings, which are often very insecure.
Prey for loan sharks
People who need to buy a form of transport, start or expand a business

Avoid the Loan Shark

Getting affordable help to start a business, or help with home improvement, and education.

  • It is normal across the world for individuals to be able to borrow money for necessary items.
  • If you don’t have a bank account, you may be tempted to use another route.
  • Personal Money Lenders are common in Delhi, often sat on street corners in the slums, and unsurprisingly referred to Loan Sharks.
  • These individuals charge very high rates.
  • The Asha Financial Inclusion Programme enables slum residents to obtain loans at reasonable market rates, enabling them to start small businesses, buy goods to improve their home, help pay for education, and obtain funding many other purposes aimed at improving their quality of life.

Your Donation can help

Asha is working relentlessly towards bringing holistic development in the urban slums of Delhi. We’ll ensure that whatever you can afford will be put to the best possible use and give even more people hope for a better future.

The scheme gives people a real chance to escape from poverty.
The scheme gives people a real chance to escape from poverty

Asha’s solutions

Communities and Agencies working together

Asha staff and community volunteers are perfectly placed to speak to thousands of individuals in slum areas each day. They encourage residents to open bank accounts, and make sure that everyone who could benefit from a loan is aware that the option is available.

  • In conjunction with the Indian Government Ministry of Finance, and nine national banks based in Delhi, Asha devised a Financial Inclusion Scheme that was simple to access and operate, providing access to banking services for slum residents in conjunction with established and trusted Indian Banks.
  • The scheme uses simplified procedures, with dedicated Asha Staff helping to prepare applications for loan finance and bank accounts for individuals.
  • The support from Asha continues after loan funds are approved, through face to face monitoring and support for the slum residents, right through to final repayment.
  • Residents often repay loans early, having valued the trust placed in them.
  • The opportunity for slum residents to escape from poverty is real and effective with many residents significantly improving their quality of life since 2008 when the scheme was launched.

Is the Financial Inclusion Scheme Effective?

  • Prior to the launch of the scheme in 2008 procedures for slum residents were often complex, bureaucratic and sometimes discriminatory. With limited literacy and numeracy common amongst slum residents the process to obtain a loan from a bank to start a business was often simply too complex to be understood by the potential borrowers.
  • The Asha scheme provided a profile of limited processing, simple language, oversight by dedicated Asha staff, with simplified procedures adopted by the Bank to ease bureaucracy.
  • The residents can deal with the banks direct further increasing their own confidence.
  • The scheme incentivises early repayment by only allowing larger and new loans if existing loans had already be repaid.
  • Millions of rupees have been lent and repaid, enabling slum residents to start businesses, improve their homes, educate their children, and develop existing businesses.
  • As a result, residents have increased confidence and quality of life.
  • Having been given the opportunity to prove themselves, 99% of residents make repayments on time, significantly better than the average of 95% across all banks.
The then-Finance Minister, Mr P Chidambaram, presents cheques at an event to launch the loan scheme

Please give now

Asha’s Mission is to work with the urban poor to bring about long-term and sustainable transformation to their quality of life.

Child in the slums of India