We couldn’t have had a better day! Around 180 Prosperity Rings
borrowers attended. Josephine Selvaraj, our trainer from Madurai, has
an enormous honey bee farm and sells honey to three states in India.
She started out like all these below-poverty-line borrowers with a
small loan from her family in 2006. She is delightful, an excellent
speaker, and taught everyone so much (l had Mansingh translating for
me). I gave the “keynote address,” they called it, as the person who
originated the project. Four Rotarians with whom I have worked attended
and spoke well along with two representatives from the Tamil Nadu
agricultural institute. The borrowers were rapt with attention the whole
two hours and a half of her presentation and throughout. Even the little
kids they brought were quiet. So so exciting that everyone is so enthused!
They love the idea that bees help the eco system, pollinating 90% of
plants, and all the medicinal qualities honey contains. Around 50 of them
signed up to visit the farm tomorrow in Madurai. They had to be serious about taking a loan and initiating beekeeping to be included on the 2 to 3
hour trip (depending on their point of departure).
So all told, I am over the moon on this venture.
The past 4 days of sessions with all the groups of borrowers also were
very productive, Besides good business practices, we conveyed communication skills to cope with abusive people; how to handle those trying to force marriage on one’s daughter; creating thoughtful sons who treat women as equals.