According to statistics from the World Bank, a total of 270 million people in India live below the poverty line. That amounts to an astounding 22% of the population. With millions struggling to make ends meet, how can the government as well as the society come together to help those who are in dire need of support and aid? While a lot of charity focuses on providing relief that is often short-term,empowering people with the right platform and the skill setensures long-term success. But there are still many obstacles for those who battle with tragic circumstances. The worst of them of all being the fact that if someone wants to start a business of their own,they may not even be able to secure the loan they need. Millions are turned away from traditional banks because they either don’t have any collateral or even a bank account to beginwith. The story of Rupesh Bhalerao, a 33-year-old differently-abled man is no different. At 11, he contracted polio and was rendered bedridden. Coming from a poor family, his parents were unable to take care of him and thrust him to his grandparents for care. But given their advanced age, they too found it difficult to provide the care he needed. Whilst his life has been a constant struggle, he never let it defeat him. He took up a job at a printing press upon growing up and equipped himself with the know-how of becoming an entrepreneur. However, despite his dreams, it would still be next to impossible for him to put together enough funds to pay the high interests rates that traditional banks impose. Similarly, Swati Pagare also dreams of starting her own business some day. Her goal is to start a shop that exclusively sells various kinds of fabric for women. However, she too struggles with not having enough money to make it happen. She was raised in extreme poverty wherein she had to drop out of school because her parents could no longer afford her studies. She was then married off a young age to a man who would later lose his job. Promotion It came down to her to support her family, which is what she did by selling different kinds of spices. But when business was floundering because of her limited technical knowledge, she did her best to learn all that was needed to become a successful entrepreneur. With an understanding now on how business works, all that’s standing in her way is getting the funding. While a loan from a commercial bank may be something beyond the reaches of people like Rupesh and Swati, they can hope to get the help through schemes like Tata Capital’s Salaam Loan. Unlike normal banks, this scheme aims at providing loan to deserving individuals by letting people vote for the stories shared by the nominees and give them their #LoanKaHaq. Salaam loans is giving public the power to vote for a story and help the deserving kick start their dreams making this a unique initiative as it is fuelled by public support or as they term it, ‘Public ke support pe milne wala loan.’ In order to avail the scheme, all anyone has to do is nominate someone they deem worthy of securing funding. This can be done either through a written letter or through a video testimonial. Those selected, will then get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to chase their dreams. You may also like: TBI Blogs: Here’s How One Man Brought Development to Manipur Through Small, Life-Changing Loans It’s that simple.