This is a note of gratitude to you, our readers, our social investors and our partners. As we wade through this pandemic, we are repeatedly reminded how lucky we are to receive the support that we do. During these difficult times, Indian youth have taken it upon themselves to spread awareness, distribute resources, donate, Social investing and begin new initiatives. They are today’s changemakers.
A shoutout to five brilliant change-makers, who chose social investing at a young age.
Meet Malini, one of our earliest, youngest social investors. Malini is many things, a co-founder, social entrepreneur, thought-leader and social worker. Malini volunteered and invested in Rang De in early 2012. She believes that redistributing wealth will preserve dignity. Social investing would help redefine profitability and truly understand how profitability can be sought through empowerment. Consequently, investing in livelihoods would provide an opportunity to own one’s labour and freedom.
With her global experience, Malini explains that systemic oppression is a common phenomenon worldwide. She believes that it requires localized solutions - meaning solutions customized to developing communities specific to every region as oppression manifests in varied ways. She believes that true freedom can be achieved through empowerment and entrepreneurship. Her foundation attempts to provide underserved communities with the skills to create localized social enterprises.
“Invest today in the kind of society that we want to live in tomorrow.” - Malini SriKrishna
Wondering what social investing is? Well, welcome to Rang De!
Social investing is made with the intention of generating a positive, measurable social impact. Investments are made in small businesses and educational opportunities to enable their growth & sustainability.
Meet Radhika, a young journalism graduate from Ashoka University, now working as a Brand Strategist at BlueBean. She has always been keen on giving back to her community. Eight-year-old Radhika began to see how she could share her skills with her househelp’s daughter and what she would learn in return. They devised a game where Radhika would teach English and Mathematics, while the other taught her Hindi in return. She explains that this experience is rooted in her idea of partnership. She began social investing in Rang De in early 2020.
“I believe Rang De gives young citizens a chance to empower and enable someone's progress in a meaningful way. When one donates, the aid can be a crutch for someone to lean on for some time. When one invests, the aid becomes a handshake. There is much to say of the hard work, dedication, ambition, and drive a single investment can unlock and nurture for someone with a dream.” - Radhika Sharma
She firmly believes that ambition can be nurtured in rural India, with the help of social investments over charity. She explains that the allotment of credit is dependent on merit and drive. However, donations or charity is almost a random act of kindness towards the other, without transference of accountability.
“Charity helps you survive, but investment helps you thrive.” - Radhika Sharma
Rang De is India’s first social peer to peer lending platform that enables individuals to invest in other individuals from low-income households, expanding access to low-cost credit for fundamental needs like livelihood and education.
Meet Shivang, an ex-corporate employee, Chartered Accountant, and a valued Rang De Team member. Shivang resigned from KPMG to join Rang De with a social fervour. He believes that sustainable social investing is necessary as they provide livelihood opportunities to a credit-starved community. However, with social investing comes trust in beneficiaries and the need for transparency. He chooses to invest in Rang De as he finds the platform transparent, personalized and sustainable.
"Rang De tries to interact with causes in multiple ways, including ways which do not fit the traditional cause structure. And we believe we are most effective with direct and deep engagement which allows us to engage our personal connections and networks to support multiple causes through a variety of avenues." - Shivang Sharma
As the Indian government placed multiple lockdown measures to tame the spread of the Coronavirus, we began to see how rural livelihoods were affected. As a response to this crisis, we launched our Rang De India campaign where we raised over 8 crores, to support farmers across India. The loan disbursed was used for warehousing and sowing/harvesting.
Ishita is one of our youngest investors and currently an intern with the Empathy team at Rang De. She began her social investment journey with us on her 12th birthday, when her father suggested her gift back to the community. In her experience, Ishita explains that a small birthday tradition helped her invest in the livelihood of several fellow Indians. She explains that small social investments can bring a huge impact on the lives of many.
“With Rang De, I am able to impact the lives of my fellow Indians and contribute to funding the unfunded.” - Ishita Joshi
Kavya is a passionate social worker with a postgraduate degree from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Her journey in the social sector began with interning at Rang De in 2016. In hindsight, she explains that these 6 months shaped her. Writing impact stories and visiting our partner communities, helped her find purpose. She began social investing towards the end of 2016 after her visit to Cuddalore.
“Seeing the impact that microcredit had made on the lives of the people, first hand, hearing their stories is what pushed me to begin investing.” - Kavya Rao
Today, Kavya works at PRADAN, supporting women from vulnerable communities, organizing them into collectives, helping them earn a decent living and supporting their families. Her work ranges from engagement around health and nutrition, gender, livelihood enhancement, and integrated natural resources management, to name a few.
“I still remember meeting Radha, a grocery shop owner in Cuddalore who had lost everything in the 2015 floods. A loan of Rs 10,000 helped her re-start the shop she had lost. As I stood in the shop with her and listened to her narrate her story, of losing her shop, taking a loan and restarting the business, her strength and her resilience to beat all odds moved me. That is what brought me to investing in Rang De.” - Kavya Rao