To reach out to the beggars, Grameen Bank has taken up a special programme, called Struggling Members Programme started from July 2002. Begging is the last resort for survival for a poor person, unless he/she turns into crime or other forms of illegal activities. Among the beggars, there are disabled, blind, and retarded people, as well as old people with ill health.
Objective of the programme is to provide financial services to the beggars to help them find a dignified livelihood, send their children to school and graduate into becoming regular Grameen Bank members. We wish to make sure that no one in the Grameen Bank villages has to beg for survival.
Basic features of the programme are :
� Existing rules of Grameen Bank do not apply to beggar members; they make up their own rules.
� All loans will be interest-free. Loans can be for very long term, to make repayment instalments very small. For example, for a loan to buy a quilt or a mosquito-net, many borrowers are paying Tk 2.00 (3.4 cents US) per week.
� Beggar members are covered under life insurance and loan insurance programmes without paying any cost.