Crowdfunding: Bringing about a change that matters | Milaap

Crowdfunding: Bringing about a change that matters

On Monday, I had yet another visit to MASS head office (one of our field partners), located in Ghataprabha in rural Karnataka. As always, I was elated to see the staff working meticulously on various projects. Since it was a day for monthly meeting, all the field officers had gathered together and the discussions on various issues went on all day long. There are a lot of registered NGO’s in India. But what distinguishes MASS from all is its staff. Each and every member of staff is in some way or another closely associated with MASS’s main objective, rehabilitation and empowerment of former Devadasis. One of the main methods implemented by MASS to achieve its objective is crowdfunding. By partnering with Milaap and a few other organisations, MASS is able to provide funds to former Devadasis and help them establish their own microenterprises and become financially independent.From a Devadasi to an entrepreneurDevadasi system has crippled the life of many women, but Sattevva was made a Devadasi because of the nature of her birth. Sattevva is unable to walk ever since she was a child. Instead of receiving proper health treatment, she was subjected to an age-old tradition. It was assumed that Gods somehow may be angry, so in order to appease them, Sattevva was dedicated to Goddess Yellamma. Today she is free of those shackles, and with the help of generous Milaap lenders, owns her own Kirana shop. However she seldom goes to the shop, and her sister Champavva is usually the one who runs it, nevertheless Sattevva is no longer helpless and spurned.[caption id="attachment_6094" align="aligncenter" width="1900"]Left to right: Champavva, Sattevva. Champavva sitting at their Pan shop. Left to right: Champavva, Sattevva.
Champavva sitting at their Pan shop.[/caption]Yet another beneficiaryAt the age of 60, Bhagavva found that she could no longer work as an agricultural labourer. Living with her brother’s family, she had a roof above her head, but somehow that was not enough. She had lost half of her childhood and most of her youth in bondage, as a Devadasi. But now that she was free of that system, she was not ready to give up her dignity and freedom yet again. People she had never known before came forward to help her, and she was able to start her own Pan shop. Today, Bhagavva lives an independent life.[caption id="attachment_6095" align="aligncenter" width="1900"]Bhaggavva at her Pan shop Bhaggavva at her Pan shop[/caption]In the present day scenario, crowdfunding has become a major phenomenon. It has given hope to people who never dared to dream. Moreover, it has given a means to become a part of something good to those who want to bring about a change.You can be a part of that phenomenon as well and help former Devadasis.
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