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Loans in India
The southeastern state of India, Tamil Nadu, was hit hardest by the tsunami, with 7,932 of the country’s 9,691 reported deaths and hundreds of thousands displaced. 75% of the fatalities were women and children, the most vulnerable segment of society. Chennai is the largest city in Tamil Nadu with five million people. 40% of Chennai’s population lives below poverty and a quarter of its people live in slums. 30% of Chennai’s population is unemployed.
IMED, an Opportunity International partner, is a microfinance organization based in Chennai. When the tsunami struck, the IMED staff was quick to respond, surveying the damage in stricken areas, participating in relief activities and gauging the future needs of tsunami victims. Opportunity is now embarking on an aggressive expansion plan in India. By the end of 2006, IMED’s microfinance activity will be transferred to a Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC), when it will officially become Growth Opportunity Finance. Currently operating in Chennai, IMED/GO Finance is opening new branches and outposts in areas struggling under tremendous poverty. Additional branches will be established in and around the Chennai area throughout 2006 and 2007. GO Finance is projected to reach 45,000 active clients after three years and be operationally viable, expanding to Kolkata where it will reach an estimated 15,000 new clients.