'Pure Amazement' in India – ACCION Ambassadors Blog the World – July 5, 2011

> Posted by Center Staff
When’s the last time you were amazed by your experience with microfinance?
Accion’s Ambassadors are running into all kinds of experiences as they blog about the industry from Tanzania to China, and it caught our eye that Stephen Matthew Lee‘s feelings, recounted from Bangalore, include “pure amazement.”
We’re trying to keep you in the loop about experiences like those by doing some cross-posting on this blog. Jason Loughnane, Leah Vinton, and David Firth Bard gave us insights from the ground in recent weeks. You can also get these posts from the Ambassadors blog itself by subscribing.
Lee’s July 1 post  “Vindhya Challenges Conventional Notions with Fresh Perspectives on Humanity and Values” starts out:
BANGALORE – I have been at a loss for words. Partly out of pure amazement at what I experienced this week and partly at not knowing from which angle to approach this post.  I think I will just recount the day and reflect on it later.
I alighted a rickshaw in front of the Vindhya office and the driver insisted I pay him extra because he got lost.  This exchange was curiously watched from two sets of eyes and one set of solid legs. After paying the agreed-upon fare, the two onlookers accompany me into their office. I am greeted by Srinivas, the smiling slender receptionist who was just concluding a phone call, holding the receiver with his elbows. Expecting me, he took be back to meet Ashok Giri, founder and CEO of Vindhya. Ashok, who has all his faculties, merely told me that Vindhya provides opportunities for honest work. He suggested I spend a few hours on the production floor mingling with the associates, then we would have a chat.

Rajesh, my guide for the afternoon, first introduced me to Javariah, a soft-spoken team lead who oversees quality control for the eight-member Ujjivan team. Javariah explained that Vindhya specializes in data entry services for four Indian microfinance institutions (MFIs); including ACCION partner Swadhar, as well as Ujjivan, Janalakshmi, and Samasta. These MFIs send loan documentation to Vindhya who then transcribes the information into the cloud for their client MFI. He beams, “Turn around time for account set up is eight hours for Ujjivan, twelve for Swadhar.” Vindhya does the data entry and bookkeeping for MFIs so they can focus on their core business of lending. Leaving Javariah back to his work, one of his deskmakes asked him a question in sign language. He signed a response and walking away, Rajesh told me that Javariah learned sign language last year so he could communicate with his chattering of deaf colleagues.
Read the rest of Lee’s post, and check out the other Ambassadors’ reports, by clicking here.
Image credit: bdesham

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