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A Bank For Underprivileged Working Children

In 2004, two NGOs helped two dozen children in Chaturbhuj Sthan, a red-light area in Muzaffarpur, in Bihar, set up their own bank-the Bal Vikas Khajana.

The children holding accounts at this bank are rag-pickers, helpers at tea-stalls, or those who sell their ware at traffic intersections. They deposit anything between Rs. 5 and Rs. 50 to earn simple interest every three months. They can also get loans.

'Today, the bank has branches in two other districts—Sitamarhi and Bettiah—and these banks have over 1,200 accounts and over Rs 25 lakh in deposits.'

Mahila Vikas Kendra's Programme Manager, Abdul Rahim says- "The government may have laws to stop child labour, but in reality a lot of children have to work to support their families."

This bank encourages such children to save.


Vinod_Sharma said...

Good to hear that someone in close touch with the harsh realities that mark the life of the poor has come up with something practical that will benefit kids who have no choice but to work for survival.

It is all very well to pontificate sitting bejeweled and dressed in TV studios about banning child labour. We must either create conditions by way of education and employment that frees children from it or do something that works.

Gopinath Mavinkurve said...

Microfinancing is the need of rural Indians, and one wouldnt be surprised if these banks dont have any Non-performing assets. That strata of our society is most honest and wants to repay all loans. Why do you think indebted farmers commit suicide. Indebted industrialists would look for finance professionals to raise more funds instead!

BK Chowla said...

It is not possible to get rid of child labour in India as most of the exploitation takes place by those who are here to protect them.A recent case of a Minister in Delhi cabinet is a case in point.
But,such efforts by NGOs to help the children must be brought to the front page so as to encourage others to follow.

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