Nobel Laureate Md Yunus of Bangladesh believes, 'Poverty is a word which should have been on the shelf in a museum, but it is unfortunate that we still see poverty all around us.'
Inspired by the actions of Md Yunus, also one of the initiators of the micro finance programs, and with the strong encouragement from PIP Barry Palmer, the Lions of MD 322, undertook a Micro Finance Project in collaboration with a reputed multinational company, ASA International India Micro Finance Ltd. in June, 2013.
The project received an investment of INR 5 million and opened its first branch at Gangadharpur, near Kolkata, which was inaugurated by the then 1st VP, Barry Palmer.
Encouraged by the success of the first unit, PID Bishnu Bajoria raised his interest to undertake construction of a second unit in his home town at Bankura, commemorating the centenary celebration of his late father.
The project was inaugurated in September, 2014 with donations from his family (INR 1.5 million) and from the Lions Club of Bankura Welfare Trust (INR 0.5 million) of which he is the Chairman, making the project an INR 2 million initiative.
Many local dignitaries, elite and leaders of MD 322 were present at the inauguration on 6th September, 2014.
In 24 months of operation, 848 economically backward women have been empowered with the provision of loans totaling INR 8,423,000 till August, 2016. What is more significant is the fact that until now, there has been not been, even a single default, in repayment by the beneficiaries. On an average every month around 15-20 new beneficiaries with loans totaling around INR 300,000 are added to the program, making it a hugely successful initiative.
On 21 August 2016, a get together of the representatives from all the loan units was held in the conference hall of Bankura Lions Eye Hospital.
The get together saw the representation from 63 units, with active interaction and networking among all the members.
The beneficiaries also expressed their humble acceptance and delight at being able to support their families, by providing for their education, medical care and financial assistance.