"I am illiterate, I never knew properly how to count money and keep a record." So, when Danamma was invited to join a savings group at her church, she wanted in.
A safe place to save money and training to help her plan for her future was exactly what she needed. Six months later, Danamma helps the group treasurer every week. Confidence in her basic finance skills has opened up new possibilities to use her talents. And new choices, too: a sewing or an umbrella making business? Her skills training has equipped her to make a wise choice; her ISOS savings makes her eligible to get the loan she needs to launch her dream.
At Kerusomen, we believe poverty is a women’s issue. In rural India, women have little or no access to education, a huge obstacle in their fight against poverty. In honor of International Women’s Day, see how KGM local partner, Friends Needing Friends, helped Danamma get access to KGM's Christ-centered women’s ministry that's equipping her and other rural Indian women to fight for their future.
Most women in rural India, who live in poverty, have had limited access to formal education. Many, like Danamma, are illiterate. Schooling takes second place to helping with household chores and taking care of siblings for females in Indian culture. 27% of India's girls become child brides. There are also longstanding cultural expectations that married women should not work. Housework and taking care of children and the elderly are expected to be their priorities. Danamma fulfilled these expectations marrying young and soon becoming a mother. Having spent her life doing domestic chores and childcare, she was totally unprepared and unqualified for a job when her husband died.
Isos Transformation Groups offer biblically based training, mentoring, and coaching to help the women start or expand their businesses. ISOS helps women pinpoint their God-given talents and enhance them with practical skills training. Danamma is combining her new finance knowledge and enhanced talents to evaluate the needs of her village and launch a profitable business. "I will soon be eligible to get a loan to initiate the business of sewing or umbrella making."
Women who gather together to worship, save, learn, and build businesses, also grow to love and support each other. In this caring community, Danamma's confidence has grown.
The ISOS Transformation Group "helps me to grow towards being a responsible citizen and it helps us to come up in life. We help each others' businesses to grow well. We care and help each other. That is the uniqueness that stands out in this group."
With all the odds stacked against her, Danamma is succeeding. Is it any wonder her faith and courage inspire us to stand with her?
And that's exactly what Friends Needing Friends Widow Ministry did.
When KGM's local partner, Friends Needing Friends, heard it would take months for Danamma to save the $25 initial bank deposit she needed to join, they gladly came alongside her to help.
"Often I dreamed to be part of this group but it was not reachable to me. I witnessed its growth and impact on the lives of many women who, like me, were underprivileged. I saw them become bold house makers and spiritually blessed despite their situations which were not so good. One day Pastor Saha asked me to join the group, but I told him it's impossible for me to get 25 dollars right away. Then he shared that KGM & FNF USA is willing to bear my expenses. Hearing that, tears rolled from my eyes, my "impossible" dream had come true!"
The biggest obstacle facing women in underserved villages is saving the initial $25 to join ISOS. It can take six months or more for most women, providing nothing unforeseen happens. Like Covid-19. The pandemic has crushed the dreams of many would-be ISOS members.
We believe we're called to stand with these women. Their big ideas, fervent prayers, and tenacious spirits inspire us. And we pray you will be impassioned to join us in this calling.
GOD BLESS YOU