The village of Chirala lies 39 miles southeast of ServeTrust on the Indian Ocean. Walking toward the ocean on a walkway lined with hundreds of one-room grass huts, you see women cooking on open flames or mending nets, children playing in the sand, and men relaxing after a day of fishing.
In 2005, this area was devastated when the tsunami struck, destroying the livelihoods of fishermen and their families. ServeTrust provided relief with a new boat, new fishing nets, blankets, and other necessities. Today, ServeTrust runs a thriving microloan ministry for 90 women in the community, empowering them with resources to conduct business that helps them support their families.
Here’s how it works: Women are grouped together in teams of five. In January, each woman receives 2000 rupees (about $30) to purchase fish, clean and dry them and then set up a kiosk to sell them in the local market. Each woman pays back 200 rupees per month for 10 months. After the loan is paid back, another 2000 rupees is granted, and the cycle begins again. The women work together as a team and help their partners and hold them accountable for repayment. Some women use their loans to purchase produce for resale or make and sell arts and crafts. Economic empowerment is ServeTrust's answer to giving these women self-reliance.