Cycle fish vendors
Following the 2004 tsunami disaster, many NGOs, INGOs and government departments provided temporary relief for affected fish vendors by organizing meetings, distributing relief materials, and conducting awareness camps. However, the fish vendors served by BLESS were ineligible for this aid, as they were not registered with the Fisheries Department. As the individual vendors affected by the 2004 tsunami came from many different villages, they were not officially recognized by any other organization. BLESS initially conducted a survey which revealed that these vendors are bonded with debts with huge, un-payable interest rates (for example, a cycle fish vendor in debt to a money lender for their business, is charged Rs. 50/- as interest on daily basis.) Considering these factors, Bless, grouped all these scattered vendors under one roof, in the micro-credit programme. After studying the scattered community, BLESS determined that 92% of the fish vendors met the following criteria:
- Age between 18 to 60 years.
- Fish vending by bicycle .
- Below poverty line.
- Fish purchasing limitation ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1500/-.
- Member should be regular in meetings, trainings, savings and repayment etc.
Fish vendors who met these criteria and who regularly attending meetings, trainings, and met savings and repayment goals were provided with interest-free loans. The Linsi foundation supported loans of Rs. 3000 to Rs. 6000 (86€/$97). BLESS is also working with the fisheries department to improve assistance to impoverished fish vendors.