is a widow struggling to provide for her 6 children in the
village of Thatteguppe, in southern India. Her dire financial
situation was worsened by the high interest rates she was
paying on the loans she took to pay for her daughters’
weddings. At that time she came to know of Grameen
Koota and soon she applied for her first loan of
Rs. 4,000. Balamma used the money to buy a cow and started
selling milk. Her income not only covered her loan repayments,
but she also had enough to pay for her household expenses.
Balamma took a second loan of Rs. 7,000 from Grameen
Koota to buy another cow in order to expand her business.
As a result her income grew substantially and she is now looking
forward to submitting her third loan application.
Koota was conceived in 1997 by the trustees of T.
Muniswamappa Trust who were inspired by Alex Count’s
book, “Give Us Credit”, which
described the dramatic impact that microcredit had on the
poverty stricken lives of the poor in Bangladesh and the U.S.A.
With financial assistance from Grameen Trust, which provided
the seed capital funding, Grameen Koota started
its operations as a Grameen Bank type microfinance institution
from 30th May, 1999, for the benefit of the poor population
in Avalahalli, India.
Grameen Koota has 9 branches, which cover
273 villages, and a head office in Avalahalli. The organization
employs a staff of 55 to assist their growing client membership,
which currently stands at around 9,000. As of November 2003,
Grameen Koota has disbursed loans, totaling
Rs. 51.5 million, while loans currently outstanding were Rs.
21.7 million. The loan repayment rate has been a perfect 100%.
Grameen Koota’s members’ savings
increased dramatically to Rs. 4.4 million. Apart from its
microcredit program, Grameen Koota also conducts
periodic socio-economic development workshops for its members
where various topics such as health, nutrition, adult literacy,
AIDS awareness issues are discussed. Grameen Koota’s
goal is to provide 30,000 poor families like Balamma’s,
with income generating opportunities through small business
loans by the end of 2005 and to become a financially sustainable
has been a Grameen Trust partner since 1999.