In January 2015, the Sarangi team applied for two loans from Social Business Nepal (SBN) on behalf of the Gandharba community in Dang District in Western Nepal. SBN is an offshoot of the Chaudhary Group and is funded by Lions Club International. After a lengthy screening process, both applications were accepted. This was a huge achievement as there were over 70 applications. Only nine projects were accepted. A great result by any standards.
Being pure Social Business loans, the community will repay them at no interest, once they start making a profit. Sarangi project itself was created as a Social Business, and strongly aligns with SBN’s core values which it sees as a way to empower community. Development through Social Business contrasts with the donation model which can lead to dependence and a loss of power. Santosh GB, a successful Gandharba radio announcer and first member from this community to pass his SLC and to receive his bachelor degree is leading the team. SBN is closely monitoring the projects with a training program lasting several months. Each project will inject $30,000 into the community and transform the lives of 250 households ie 800 people.
This community has been tied to the brick factories in Kathmandu through bonded labour…a form of economic slavery. It is the intention of the project to interrupt this cycle which will result in the children staying in school longer and girls marrying later.
We were very fortunate to be supported by ……..a photographer from Red Bull. His pro bono work in helping research and create the application was invaluable. Andrius Mažeika, another very talented friend of the project has been working to make a difference to this community.
Through our initial assessments and meetings with communities, we were able to identify two projects that we feel meet our criteria ie
That benefit communities in their entirety
That take into account the capacity of community members and their resources
That have a high potential for income generation and sustainability after the initial loans are paid off.
These most promising projects are a goat husbandry project in Nayabasti and a small restaurant in Rakshyachour.