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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Loan a little
Sneha Mahale, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, August 08, 2011
First Published: 16:32 IST(8/8/2011)
Last Updated: 16:35 IST(8/8/2011)

Have Rs. 500 set aside every month as savings? How about using it to do some good and getting the amount invested back in 12 to 24 months?
That’s exactly what the initiative titled Milaap offers.

This microfinance venture makes sure that those in need of money (read farmers, artisans, small-scale retailers, training institues etc) are given loans, borrowed from individuals and corporates.

At the end of the set period, the money is returned and can either be withdrawn completely or put back into the system and be used to finance another person who needs it. 

To date, the venture has made a difference to 1,750 lives from Rs. 6,300,00 that has been raised from corporates, high networth and everyday individuals.

“Milaap is an online lending platform that enables anyone around the world to lend money to the working poor in India at very low interest rates. The process is simple. Choose a borrower. Make a loan. Get repaid. Recycle,” says Sourabh Sharma, who started the initiative along with Anoj Viswanathan and Mayukh Choudhury.

Through their field partners (NGOs and microfinance institutions), the end-borrowers get to avail loans at low interest rates.

The loans usually fund essential needs that have a long-term impact on families like clean water and sanitation or create sustainable income generation opportunities.

Any amount starting from Rs. 500 (if you are in India) is welcome. The loan period ranges from 12 to 24 months.

During a loan cycle, the amount repaid every month by the borrower is accumulated online in your Milaap account as Milaap Credits. You can cash your credits and withdraw the amount at the end of each month.

Alternatively, the credits can be reused to loan to other borrowers.

“While loans made on Milaap are voluntary and are not treated as guaranteed investments, we do take strong measures to select field partners with a proven track record (more than three years in the industry, over 5,000 clients and a repayment rate over 98 per cent) and screen each borrower. As a result, repayment rate has been 100 per cent,” says Sharma.

How it works:
To make a contribution, you can go through the list of borrowers on www.milaap.org.
Choose a cause that you want to support.
Make a loan using your debit card or credit card.
The amount can be as small as Rs. 500 or $50.
As the borrowers make their repayments, you get repaid.
You can also choose to recycle the loan amount by lending it to another borrower.

For more info, log on to www.milaap.org


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