The ESHGs have membership ranging from 10 to 20 members including women groups, men groups and mixed groups. The average number of members is around 15.5. Each group has two leaders (first and second) chosen from among the members.
Currently there is an animator for writing books in most groups.
The groups hold 1 to 2 meetings per month. Where two meetings are held, one meeting is leveraged for collecting savings and the second for borrowings. Minutes are taken for both the meetings.
Most of the groups have received seed capital.
The group savings range from Rs.20 to Rs.100 per member and the average savings across is estimated at Rs.40 per month per member. The members also pay an administration fee ranging from Rs.5 to Rs.10 each month to meet group expenses. All the groups have bank accounts. About 150 groups have bank linkages.
Borrowings in the ESHGs are from internal savings + seed capital, from VLF. The interest rate for the borrowings from internal and VLF loans range from 1% to 2% per month.
About 20% of the groups do monthly savings of Rs.30 per member into the VLF. They also pay Rs.5 as contribution to VLF while about 50% groups do only contribution ranging from Rs.2 to Rs.10 per member per month.
About 4236 members in ESHGs have taken 'vamsavali’ (mutual support social security). Towards this they pay Rs.200 each per year to the EfE.
While most members are engaged in individual livelihood activities there is decent number of collective livelihood activities taken up at the group level like making and selling pickles, establishing and managing grocery shops etc.
ESHGs have demonstrated the capacity to handle on an average of Rs.150,000 to Rs.200,000 already. The members expressed the need for more loans at least to the tune of Rs.300,000 to Rs.1,000,000 per group. Groups also expressed willingness to graduate towards differential interest rates on the loans from VLF to ESHG to members. Savings are regular, loan repayment 100% and on time loan repayment is over 95%.
Village Level Federation
All the ESHGs in a village come together as a VLF. On an average, there are 8 ESHGs in a VLF. All the ESHG leaders constitute the representative body of the VLF. The governing body is chosen from the representative body.
The VLF meets once a month; the meeting minutes and the books of accounts are currently written by the animator.
The VLFs received seed capital directly from HI (for provision to destitute elders) and from ESHG members. The average seed capital received thus far by each VLF is Rs 94000/- (from HI towards support to destitute grans) and Rs.180,000 from constituent ESHGs and their members as a one-time capital.
VLFs lend to ESHGs at an interest rate ranging from 12% to 24%. While some ESHGs lend to the members at the same rates, others practice differential rate system.
VLF has a process of reviewing of loan applications and all eligible applications are reviewed in the monthly VLF meetings. Reasons for non-consideration of loan application are also given to the applicant or ESHG.
VLFs make a monthly contribution to DLF that range between Rs.50 to Rs.200. Contribution of Rs.5 is also made to DLF as administration fee.
The total funds available with VLFs currently including seed capital, savings and contributions from ESHGs, interest earned, money for distribution of rice and pocket money is about Rs.15 million.
Social Component – Apart from the above business operations VLF renders social functions including:
Supporting destitute elders in the village by providing them with provisions including rice, lentils, cooking oil, tea, sugar, salt, soaps, coconut oil etc. Under this initiative, currently more than 500 elders are receiving support and the average money spent on each person is about Rs.200 per month.
Advocating for and ensuring destitute care and also advocating for government old age pensions. When the destitute elder receives pension s/he is taken away from the VLF support program.
Immediately release of Rs.1500-2500 when ESHG member (covered under vamsavali insurance) expires to meet funeral needs pending reimbursement from EfEF which will give Rs.7500 to the family of the deceased.
Currently VLF is unable to meet all the destitute elder support expenses from earned income surpluses alone; sometimes, capital is dug into and/or local funds are raised. In some cases, this has led to compromises on destitute care. VLFs have evinced interest in taking up collective activities which will enhance their income opportunities but currently they face shortage of capital. As their incomes improve, VLFs are prepared to contribute increased share towards animators’ salaries. Going forward VLFs are also keen on expanding their local fund raising opportunities.
District Level Federartion
DLF, a registered society, works as an apex body in the district, primarily dealing with governance, interface with VLF, policy making and advocating the cause of the elderly, including destitute elders. There are 4 DLFs currently, one each in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Vedaranyam and Kollam.
Two leaders from each VLF form the representative body in the DLF. The governing body is chosen from this representative body. The process of enrolling non-members as advisors to DLF is set in motion.
DLF conducts meetings once a month. Apart from the DLF members, the animators and HI staff are also present in these meetings.
DLF is playing an active role in organizing new groups, strengthening existing groups, conducting internal audit of the ESHGs, facilitating book keeping and internal auditing of the VLFs, facilitating capacity building for ESHGs and VLFs, appraisal of the business plans from VLFs and facilitating bank linkages for the groups etc.
DLF supports VLFs in local fund raising, facilitating market and other networking for the VLFs etc.
With expert staff at its disposal and adequate provision of funds, DLF can facilitate backward and forward linkages for various collective economic activities.
Advocasy & Lobby
1 Oct 2011 World Elders Day Celebrations
20 Oct 2011 Annual General Body Meeting
25 Oct 2011 Special Campus
Vibrant Elders for Elders Movement for their dignity and self-reliance with 25000 elders in 2500 ESHGs across 250 villages in India.
Mobilising elders into their collectives (and higher order federations) and offering comprehensive/integrated care (by tapping own resources, rights entitlements and other resources).