Umeed has successfully formed over 350 Self Help Groups - 'Umeed Mahila Manch' that consist of 15 - 20 women from similar economic strata from the same village. Each woman contributes a 'like' amount every month into the group's bank account, from which members can take loans repayable at minimal interest rates. All this is supervised by Umeed's Social Organisers, who are educated and motivated women belonging to the area.
Self Help Groups have evolved both as a viable alternative and a supplement to existing credit facilities. These are small, voluntary, economically homogeneous groups of women who share a single aim: they put savings into a common fund, which operate like mini banks, loaning money to group members at low interest rates following unanimous group decisions. Each group has a formal account with the bank and they appoint their representatives to manage the accounts under the guidance of the Umeed team. Umeed seeks to foster an ethos of saving and also encourage the underprivileged to engage in viable income generating activities that will empower rural women. The Women of the Self Help Groups can also avail bank loans from their link banks for any business venture.
Till date 'Umeed' has already made a difference to 4,000 women through this social empowerment programme in Punjab.