For the last ten years Rotary clubs across the country have been bringing their support to bear in backing up the work being throughout the world by an organisation called Care International.
CARE International is one of the world’s leading aid organisations with a sixty year history, and in 2010 established Lendwithcare.org., with the purpose of enabling poor families to find their own route out of poverty. The method chosen has followed a variation of an old adage “Give a man a fish and you will feed his family for a day – give a man a fishing rod and you will feed his family for life”.
Rather than fishing rods, Lendwithcare has been raising funds to make small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries to start, or expand, small businesses in order to sustain and develop opportunities to build a better future. On the ground the scheme is administered and operates through local partners.
In 2011, UK Rotary Clubs threw their weight behind Lendwithcare, by providing finance for the loans. The total contributed by Rotary Clubs has now passed £1million, and all five city Rotary clubs have been involved. Loans have been made to farmers, tailors, market traders, food producers, tradesmen and engineers in 11 countries across Africa, Asia and South America. Loans range from just a few pounds to hundreds of pounds, but all provided with the intention of enabling would-be entrepreneurs to set out on a path to being self-sufficient
Examples of projects currently available to support are:
Pakistan – replacement sewing machine for tailoring business, £131.
Ecuador – to purchase fertiliser and animal feed to develop a small-holding, £1,248.
Rwanda – to extend the range of products available in a village shop, £518.
Cambodia – to purchase a small tractor to plough and cultivate farm land, £1,727.
Over the years the five city Clubs have together provided loans totalling over £27,000 and, in the process, have created over 1,500 jobs. Speaking on behalf of all five clubs, Rotarian Richard Green observes “Although together we have made loans of more than £27,000, much of this figure comes from original loans which have been repaid, and then re-cycled, again and again, to new borrowers. This scheme is remarkable, both in what it achieves and in the impressive record of repayment, with an almost total absence of default. This means that the net cost to lenders is ultimately zero, but tremendous things are being accomplished.
Head of Lendwithcare, Tracey Horner, adds: “Through Lendwithcare, Rotary has so far helped change the lives of more than 5,000 entrepreneurs around the world. We’re grateful to every Rotarian who has given their time and energy to raise funds to lend to people trying to earn a living in some of the most challenging environments in the world. It really is life-changing for the people we work with, and we want to extend our huge thanks to Rotary.
Full details of the scheme can be found on www.lendwithcare.org