LightCastle Partners along with iDE Bangladesh collaborate to facilitate “No-Interest Loans” for the Oporajita Program offered by the Department of Social Welfare
LightCastle Partners, along with iDE, facilitated out-of-work women garment workers from the Oporajita project to avail special concessionary loans from the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) to invest in new businesses. This approach allows for the beneficiaries to receive capital at the cheapest rate available, enabling business sustainability.
Oporajita: Collective Impact Initiative for the Future of Work in Bangladesh is a project funded by the H&M Foundation, with the vision to enhance the employability of women garment workers (WGWs) and safeguard livelihood from the impact of automation and digitalization in the textile industry, aims to empower 1,500 out-of-work women garment workers who have undergone entrepreneurial and financial literacy training. These resilient women, eager to start their ventures, often face daunting hurdles in securing financial support for their business aspirations. The lack of awareness about available financial products and the complexity of loan application processes have been significant obstacles.
With a shared vision of promoting gender equality, fostering entrepreneurship, and supporting women’s economic empowerment, LightCastle and iDE started working together to implement this groundbreaking project. In part, LightCastle is responsible for delivering innovative, tailored financial products and providing financial advisory services to 600 out-of-work women RMG workers for deepening financial inclusion.
The Department of Social Welfare in Bangladesh is responsible for formulating social welfare policies and providing a range of services and programs to address the social welfare needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. Having a shared vision with the project team, DSW comes in as the first financial partner, disbursing BDT 400,000 in loans carrying 0% interest rates and 5% service fee, which again gets reinvested into the loan pool. Essentially the government does not take any interest/service fee revenue from the beneficiaries. 8 women received BDT 50,000 each with a two-month grace period.
The event was graced by the Director General (Grade-01) of the Department of Social Welfare, Dr Abu Saleh Mustafa Kamal; Muhammad Shibliezzaman, Officer, Department of Social Welfare, Savar; Md. Afzal Hussain Bhuiyan, Head of Strategic Partnership, iDE Bangladesh; Krisha Rana, Project Manager-Oporajita, iDE Bangladesh.
Over the next 12 months, LightCastle and iDE will keep delivering more innovative financial instruments and mechanisms to provide additional low-cost financing, empowering the former RMG workers to start new enterprises and improve their income and livelihoods.