XLRI, Jamshedpur tied up with Milaap for their annual fest, Valhalla, for the second time, to continue to give back to society. From raising a whopping Rs. 2,07,500 last year, this year, they are back having raised Rs. 1,70,000. We talked to the convener of Valhalla 2013, Varun Paruchuri, and these are his views
Q) Can you tell us how you came across Milaap.org?
Prof. Madhukar Shukla who teaches Social Entrepreneurship at XLRI is the faculty incharge for SIGMA (Social Initiative Group for Managerial Assistance). He came across Milaap at a seminar and it was his idea that we should tie up with Milaap for the social activities for Valhalla.
Q) What's the idea behind the XLRI group lending on Milaap?
In B-schools, a lot of activities happen through the year related to sports and culture, but we decided to merge both and make it a mega event. We also wanted to imbibe the XL culture of trying to give back to the society in some way through every activity, so when hundreds of participants from 8-10 of the best B-schools across India come together to compete and have fun during Valhalla, we thought this is a great platform for a socially conscious activity.
Q) What was the motivation to continue lending with Milaap?
I'd say the transparency of the entire process. After the first year, I had asked for a report on the projects that the money was used for and we were pretty happy with the impact report that was shared. This is the reason we stuck to Milaap this year as well.
Q) What is your view on Microfinance in India?
As far as I'm aware, it was started with a very noble intention: improving people's lives through lending small loans with lesser interest rates. However, the initial hiccups tampered with the image of microfinance companies. There is a fine line between lending to encourage enterprise and lending for profits so we need responsible individuals to handle affairs, as well as good policies and regulations.
Q) Any feedback for us on how we can make the experience of lending much better for our lenders?
Maybe timely feedback and impact reports would help keep you in the head. The most satisfying thing for any lender is to see fructifying of the project that the money was used for, so testimonials and stories would help
Q) One word that describes Milaap to you?
Hand up and no hand outs! That kind of cumulates everything that it stands for.
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