Kusum Lata is a warm, mature 26-year-old – the eldest of three – who lives with her parents and siblings in a two-room rental unit in a neighborhood called Faridibad, about 40 minutes to the South of New Delhi, India. There are new construction projects in the works, seemingly on every block, but abandoned lots heaped with waterlogged garbage still abound.
Kusum makes a modest living doing shift work on an auto parts assembly line. Her father, a buffalo trader, recently consulted an astrologer, who suggested that investing in his daughter would be good luck. This was his inspiration for making Kusum the primary borrower on their family’s new construction loan from Accion partner Shubham Housing Development Finance Company.
Kusum’s father beams as they tell their story, and it is clear she is indeed a good bet: smart, hardworking and committed to making life better for herself and her family. “I am proud of my daughter and glad to support her,” says Kusum’s father. “I encourage her not to get married too soon and to continue working for a while longer.” But her informal, cash-based income makes it impossible for her to furnish pay stubs or any other proof of income.
Fortunately, Shubham’s holistic approach to evaluating each client’s circumstances individually allowed them to determine that Kusum and her family would make great clients. She was approved for a new home construction loan of U.S. $6,000, which, combined with the family’s savings and Kusum’s design sense, has put them well on their way to a significant lifestyle improvement anchored in a major asset.
“We didn’t expect that building a home for our family would happen so soon but we saw a Shubham leaflet, gave them a call, and got a loan in just 25 days,” says Kusum. And it appears from Kusum’s serene smile as she shows off the features and artistic touches of her new home that she agrees.