WESCO CREDIT - Welfare Services Co-operative Credit is the financial arm of Welfare Services Ernakulam, a social service agency with over fifty-three years of rich experience in human and community development. Fostering Sustainable neighbourhoods on a secular fabric with value embedded service for empowering the marginalized community especially women has been the single minded vision of the Wesco Credit.
Three Pillars of WESCO CREIDT:
Operational Area: 284 villages / 5000 SHGs
Promotion of community based organization such as Self Help Groups (SHGs) and provision of micro credit are the two focus areas of Wesco Credit. SHGs are registered or unregistered group of micro entrepreneurs, usually between 10-20 members, having homogenous social and economic background, voluntarily coming together to save small amounts regularly, to mutually agree to contribute to a common fund and to meet their emergency financial and other needs on mutual help basis. SHGs unleash forces for the empowerment of the poor, both socially and economically. Despite few disadvantages, the perceived advantages of the SHG have far outweighed its disadvantages and have made the SHG as a popular model for microfinance in India so much so that even the government programmes have the SHGs at the core of their strategy. SHGs have emerged as the Indian model of microfinance and helped to bridge the gap of financial exclusion.
Gender and development or the women empowerment is one of the major thrust areas of Sahrudaya as it believes in the ability of the women to play key stake in the social transformation process. Its presence is visible in 281 rural villages through the network of women self help groups. A large number of women have joined the network as members in the Self Help Group platforms and play active roles in the development process as leaders and other office bearers. Periodical training and other capacity building programs have increased knowledge and skills of the women and there is a clear change in their lives. They are trying to address the issues of poverty, unemployment and other socio-economic backwardness through individual and collective efforts. WECO Credit provides them financial services to the members in SHGs for meeting their prioritized developmental needs and it serves as bank at the doorsteps eliminating the exploitation of the greedy money lenders. Over one and half a decade, Sahrudaya has been able to disburse more than Rs.280 Cr. as microfinance to the women in the network of its self help groups.
Sahrudaya Self Help Groups:
SHG is the basic unit promoted by the organization to facilitate development in the grassroots. Besides savings and credit, awareness creation, leadership and collective action, access to microfinance is a key strategy for augmenting the economic progress of the members. An amount of Rs.28.21 Cr. was disbursed to 1245 SHGs for meeting the various development needs of its 9423 members. During the year 204 SHGs were newly formed by Sahrudaya through WESCO Credit and as result 1579 women have newly joined the Sahrudaya SHG network. This ensures increased participation of women and men in the programs of Sahrudaya. .
Sahrudaya is giving support to the micro credit groups which are functioning in 30 villages coming under the operational area of the organization. These are larger people’s organizations functioning within a locality.
Federations serve as the apex body in the villages for monitoring the activities of the Self Help Groups. 281 Village Federations are formed in the villages constituting representatives from each self help group as official members and ex-officio members from the local parish, village animator, etc. They coordinate and guide the functioning of Self Help Groups under the umbrella of Wesco Credit.
Over the years, Sahrudaya has launched several social security programs in order to support the people reduce their burden of medical expenses. Every year large number of the people are approaching the organization for financial support as part of the treatment of the members in the family. Already many have expended good sum of money for the medical and treatment. Some have even sold their valuables and properties for the treatment. Social security schemes were designed by the organization with leading insurance companies to support these unfortunate people and enable them to mobilize resources through insurance coverage. These programs have been implemented well during past years and this year too many have taken benefits from these programs.
The current social security schemes facilitated by the organization are the following: