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Field Update: My Trip to India, Part 2

By Mark Lutz

Opportunity's Senior Vice President of Global Philanthropy, Mark Lutz, traveled to India to meet some of our incredible clients. Over the course of two weeks, he is sharing a few of the stories of the powerful moments he experienced and inspiring people he met. Read Part 1 here. 

What I remember most about the next entrepreneur I met are her figures and how readily she could recount them. For the sake of this vignette, we’ll call her Shruti.

Shruti owned 4 cows that together produced 30 liters of milk per day, which she sold for about $0.65 per liter, giving her a gross income of about $20 per day.

She had taken a loan from us for 20,000 Rupees—about $330. She sold one of her 4 cows, added the $330, and purchased a better milk-producing variety. Now, instead of delivering 8 liters, her new cow gives her 20 liters each day. Converting Rupees to dollars, and doing some simple math, I realized she was making about $8 more per day—about a 40% increase! Even taking into account the interest on her loan, Shruti will break even after 2 to 3 months.

I’m not sure how long a typical cow will produce milk in her context, but whatever way I looked at it, this appeared to be a wise investment. Dollars to donuts, once this loan is paid off Shruti will borrow another 20,000 Rupees and upgrade another of her 3 underachievers.

I realize enterprises are often more complex and costly than meets the eye, but on every trip to the developing world, I’m reminded how just a little capital makes such an enormous difference, particularly for families living on $1 to $2 per day per person. Thank you for what you do every day to empower Shruti and many others like her.

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