microfinance

April 14, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Economics, Microfinance

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Micro-finance
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Micro-Finance

STOP NOW!

The Bible is very clear & we can quote hundreds of Old & New Testament scripture passages, but for now just 3 from the Book of James will suffice:

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, not accompanied by action, is dead.”

- James 2:14-17

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was… but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

- James 1:22-25

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

- James 1:27

The CSF has decided to identify & focus on specific issues to be tackled in 2008, through micro-finance i.e. each one contributing just a few rupees to attack problems that society is facing. Some of these are – poverty, finance, education, disease, housing, database, resources, employment, etc.

Members / Donors (minimum Rs.2 /- per month):

The CSF encourages you to contribute first to your local parish / church & let the overflow come to us.

Only intimate us, so that we might join you in prayer -that the Lord may bless you abundantly.

Dear Friend in Christ,

We praise & thank God for the gift of you to the community. Jesus told of a parable, where the Word of God is like a seed, which falls on stony ground or is choked by the cares of this world & is unproductive. It grows a while, but does not bear fruit. Are you like that ? Are you guilty of the sin of omission -not doing the good, you can easily do ? Please ask forgiveness & get started.

Many Christian organizations are like that – often we join them, donate to them & leave it to a few office-bearers, who are happy to preside over meetings or maintain the status quo. An organization needs to be alive, growing & bearing fruit. It is said – if we can discuss a problem / issue; we don’t need to solve it ! The discussions can go on, while our lesser fortunate sisters & brothers suffer -Remember, we call God – Our Father.

VOLUNTEER

Many Catholics desperately need you to act. You don’t need to donate money -You need to serve in your own small way. Contact for how you can help or put someone who can do so in touch with us. Your connections & influence are of more use to The CSF.

DONATE

The Lord blesses a few with money, so that they can send The CSF to do His will. As Jesus said, the one who does the will of My Father is my mother, brother or sister. It is the will of God that you use the resources He has blessed you with to be a blessing, in blessing others. Praise the Lord -The CSF activists have been blessed by both physical & monetary blessings.
So even if you cannot get too involved, you can share the blessings that come from our ministry, by planting a seed. We encourage you to do so, at least on the following occasions:

  • Your Birthday / Anniversary / Engagements / Employment
  •  

  • Sacraments -births, deaths, communions, weddings, confirmations, holy orders
  •  

  • Feasts & Parties -Christmas or Easter get-togethers
  • In the PDF file below you can find information on co-operatives, credit societies, banks, etc.:

    micro_fin.pdf

     



    The Impossible Dream and the Christian Spirit of Enterprise

    by Steven L. D’ Souza, ex IPS, ex IRS Voluntary Retd.

    (Presently Financial Consultant, Legal Advisor on Indirect Taxation, SEZ, Foreign Trade to Top Corporates Across Country and Visiting Faculty in Business Management School)


    A verse from one of the most popular songs of all time, “The Impossible Dream”, sung by Andy Withall, celebrating the irrepressible character of the eternal dreamer Don Quixote and his understudy Sancho Panza in the famous classic, “Don Quixote” by Spanish writer, Miguel Cervantes, amply describes the spirit of enterprise embodied in all entrepreneurs.

     

    “To dream the Impossible Dream —-

    To try when your arms are too weary,

    To reach the unreachable star!

    This is my quest, to follow the star,

    No matter how hopeless, no matter how far,”

    From biblical times, the spirit of enterprise has been venerated, and the entire Old Testament in the Bible tells us the saga of the enterprising homeless Jewish people’s quest for the golden land and paradise which now constitutes modern Israel and Palestine. Similarly, the New Testament abounds with extracts praising the spirit of enterprise. In the gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus reminds us – “Blessings on you if I return and find you faithfully doing work” – Mathew 24:46.

    The most classic example is conveyed by Jesus in the Parable of kingdom of Heaven of three men given $1,000, $2000 and $ 5000. The man whom he had entrusted with $ 5000 and $ 2000 brought back $ 10,000 and $ 4000 respectively. The man given $ 1,000 hid it in the ground. In the parable, the master praised the man given $ 5,000 for his vision and hard work and enterprise, saying “you have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities”. (Matthew Chp. 25:21). Clearly Jesus in the parable tells us that enterprise and hard work and ability to get results is the key to multiplying the gifts of God, and for creating the kingdom of God on earth.

    Much of the epistles is a narration of Apostles Peter and Paul and the early Christian’s enterprise to spread the word of God. Much of the wealth created in the world today is the fruit of the Protestant, and especially the Calvinist ethic of the spirit of enterprise as the way to God’s kingdom and to Paradise. Right from the early immigrants, to the wild west, to the present economic success of Christian countries, the outcome of vision and enterprise spread over the past 2 to 3 centuries has been a story and a saga of wealth and growth created by primarily the pioneering Christian spirit of enterprise which was later emulated by other nations across the globe.

     

    However from Brazil to Spain to Portugal to the benign sands of Goa, the spirit of sussegad looms large over the less successful catholic brethren. We justify this lack of enterprise by two other famous extracts from the New Testament – “For the love of money is the first step toward all kinds of sins”. Timothy 6:10; and the second extract, “It is Easier for camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” – Luke 18:25. However we forget that both extracts criticize love of money-that is greed and over ambition. The spirit of enterprise creates wealth, through vision, plan and hard work which is for the good of society. The spirit of greed tries to multiply money without fruit of hard work. An entrepreneur works day and night and creates wealth, not through stock market manipulations or real estate deals or flies by night ventures or through reckless gambles and indiscrete risk. The Bible has criticized the greedy rich man, not the hardworking entrepreneur, something we should never forget.

     

    Two things stand out from the qualities that embody the Christian spirit of enterprise- First, A vision and a dream – Yes; everything starts with an idea, a vision, a dream. As Langston Hughes reminds us, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly”. George Foreman who knocked out Michael Moorer, many years his junior, at the age of 45, after coming out of retirement in the 10th round, and who became oldest champion in world heavyweight boxing history winning both IBF & WBA titles wants us to remember the song of all dreamers “When you wish, whoever you are, anything your heart desires can come to you if you just don’t give up on your dream”.

    An idea with a vision and determined faith and confidence, and concrete action can help you change the world you live it. The famous inspirational Christian writer, Napoleon Hill in his world famous best seller “Think and Grow Rich” summed it up beautifully “Whatever the mind can conceive, and the heart can believe, the human spirit will definitely achieve”. The second component of the Christian spirit of enterprise is , an action plan, perseverance, dedication, hardwork to realize that dream. Both the components are important for enterprise to succeed. The most enterprising people of our times, the Japanese, have a proverb. “Vision without Action is a daydream. Action without Vision is a nightmare”.

     

    We can take heart from the recent example last year of Sarath Babu who grew up in Chennai Slum, gave tuitions to complete studies and appeared for CAT exams, and qualified for IIM Ahmedabad, pawning among other things his sister’s jewellery, while his mother struggled with odd jobs from selling idlis to teaching kids at night. Refusing a secure eight lakh rupees per annum job, he instead started food business with a vision of high nutritive value and low cost. He started his enterprise with small contribution from friends and bank loan. Today his monthly turnover in excess of Rs.3 lakhs, and he continues to grow, and create wealth for himself, his family and other small families and for the nation and society.

     

    A popular present business bestseller, “How to change the World : Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein : Updated Edition, Oxford University Press, 2007” narrates the stories of 10 visionary entrepreneurs many of them Christians . It includes people such as Fabio Rosa of Brazil who spearheaded rural electrification for poor farmers; Bill Drayton of the United States who instituted the Ashoka foundation to nurture and provided financial support to budding entrepreneurial leaders; Jeroo Billimoria who founded Childline in India, a 24-hour emergency response system to help children in distress; Erzsebet Szekeres of Hungary who championed the idea of assisted living for disabled; and Veronica Khosa of South Africa who started home-based care for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients.

     

    Most entrepreneurial activity, right from biblical times to present era, have prospered and grown in clusters, in groups, when like minded individuals all having vision and enterprise come together to create wealth for the community and society. It is this community spirit of enterprise that is the key to future growth and prosperity of the Catholic community in India, and other Catholic countries across the globe, The combined spirit of Christian Enterprise, should prevail over the individual laidback sussegad spirit, and the tendency for secure jobs should give way to well [planned and calculated business risks. Many such examples abound in India. The self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) started by Ela Bhatt in 1972 which has until now helped approximately 9.6 lakh self-employed women, including hawkers and vendors, home-based workers, manual labourers and service providers. Erode district in Tamil Nadu, has cluster of small and medium enterprises. Using loans given under priority sector using Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Yojna for generating self employment, this tiny district alone contributes 27% to the State’s GDP and 36% in services. The Kongu Vellalar Community achieved this enterprising success by modernising the traditional textile sector, and branching out into sunrise industries like construction, education, poultry feed, oil, bedspreads, etc. Presently, the Government of India in the present Union Budget has announced a mega textile cluster in Erode, as a pilot project for launching further community cluster enterprises across the country.

     

    Another successful example of combined spirited community enterprise succeeding even with he poorest of poor, is that inspired by Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize-winner from Bangladesh, and the founder of the Grameen Bank. He reversed the orthodox banking theory, by showing how to extend collateral-free loans systematically, on a cost effective basis to poor villagers, particularly women. As one of its first models of social business, the Grameen Foundation, in a joint venture with the French food company Danone, runs a factory to produce fortified yogurt at affordable prices to bring nutrition to malnourished children in Bangladesh. Interestingly, not only the milk used comes from local people, but also the cows that provide the milk are bought with loans from the Grameen Bank. The company’s aim is to expand the business until all malnourished children in that country are reached with this nourishing yogurt very affordable price.

     

    A famous example of combined community enterprise succeeding in the suicide belt of debt-ridden farmers in our own nation, is that of Vanita Pise in drought stricken Mhaswad village of Satara district in Maharashtra, who set up a self help movement of 35 self-help groups in the village, who were trained to develop entrepreneurial skills by Mann Deshi Udyogini (MDU) in a 10 day course. Using microfinance, they made everything from paper cups to Prasad. In the year 2006, Pise received the Woman Exemplar Award from Prime Minister, and the rural institute was ranked alongside Harvard Business School in Economist Magazine May 2007 Global Executive Education report.

     

    The time has come to shed our sussegad approach, and to combine together, as a spirited enterprising community, which does not criticize each other, but which works together as a team, to attain real prosperity and synergy. The time as come to make use of budding talent and enterprise in our own community in the vast pool of educational and vocational institutes run by us across the country. The time has come for us to start living in the present and for the future, not just talking of past glories and achievements.

    Let us be inspired by the famous words of one of the most enterprising Presidents of the World’s most prosperous Christian nation, the United States of America, Theodore Roosevelt, “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat”.

     

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