Habitat for Humanity International, Habitat for Humanity India, and the ASK Group have announced the launch of a five-year initiative to provide 60,000 low-income families in India with access to small loans.
Over the next three years, the fund will invest a total of $5.74 million in Indian microfinance institutions — $3.85 million from Habitat for Humanity International and $1.89 million from the ASK Group — which, in turn, will be used to offer affordable home improvement loans to low-income families. The first loans, which are expected to be about $1,000 each and made available to anyone who is an existing client of one of the partnering microfinance institutions, will be issued in July.
An estimated fifteen MFIs in southern India have expressed interest in the program. The fund initially will focus on the states of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, though Habitat for Humanity hopes to expand the program over time to more locations.
"The ASK Group is delighted to be able to help Habitat for Humanity put the MicroBuild India Fund into operation," said ASK Group founder and chairman Asit Koticha. "It is an innovative program that fills a gap in the microfinance marketplace that desperately needed to be filled. Thousands of people in the future will benefit from the investment Habitat for Humanity is making now."