Esther grew up with 5 brothers and 3 sisters. They all studied up until 4th Grade and then worked on the family farm. Her parents had land for farming vegetables and rice, and also coconut trees and two cows. Back then, wages and prices were in units which are less than a rupee, so she cannot even say how much her family made, but it was enough to feed them all. Esther’s father refused to marry her off before the age of 18, so at 18, Esther was married to another farmer. Back then, 50 years ago, the couple made 200 rupees every harvest, but kept the rice they grew for themselves. They had three daughters and a son. One of their daughters studied up to 6th Grade, one up to 7th Grade, and one up to 10th Grade. Their son also studied up to 10th Grade. Then, they all stopped going to school and helped out on the farm. One of their daughters, Helen, married at the age of 22 to a pastor and became a pastor herself, working for IGL. She still preaches at the Chettichavadi Church.
Fifteen years ago, Esther began to work as coolie labor three times a week, making 100 rupees a day. Ten years ago, her husband died. She lives with her daughter, Helen, and two grandchildren
Five-and-a-half years ago, Esther joined the Women's Transformational Group as it was being created. After the 6-month training period, where Esther learned personal finance and the importance of saving, IGL reviewed the group's financial books and performance. Esther was approved for her first loan fo 2,500 rupees with a 10-month repayment period and a flat 10% interest fee, This meant that Esther had to make monthly payments of 275 rupees in order to repay the loan and the interest fee in 10 months. With her first loan, Esther purchased a cart and sweets to sell. She made a profit of 50 rupees a day.
After repaying her first loan, Esther was approved for her second loan of 5,000 rupees with the same terms. This meant that Esther had to make 550 rupee monthly payments to repay the loan within 10 months. With this second loan, Esther bought a cow. After growing it and paying 500 rupees in expenses on it, Esther was able to sell the cow for 6,000 rupees. This meant that she broke even on the loan. Once her second loan was repaid, IGL approved Esther for her third and most recent loan of 7,500 rupees (825 rupee monthly payments). Esther took this loan and bought 2 goats with it for a total 7,500 rupees. Once both were pregnant, she was able to sell them for sum of 9,500 rupees. Esther took the profit from the sale and bought her granddaughter, Helen's daughter, Jeba malar, gold earrings because she is now 16 years old.
Esther says that since IGL has helped her, she is now economically able to manage. Before, she had to borrow from the moneylenders, who charge a higher interest rate. Esther has loved seeing the education level and the training improve in her village as IGL works with the parents and students. Because of the Women’s Transformational Group, Esther says people are coming to know the lord, are saving more money, and are much more financially responsible. She hopes that in the future all of the villagers will know the Lord.
Have you ever wished you could give a gift to one person and positively improve the lives of many? Well, your donation to Jeevan Sahaya Nidhi (Life Fund) does just that!