"There were many inspiring MFI's due diligence trips. I have spoken with multiple women end-clients, and all of them impressed me with their resilience and creativity in finding diverse income-generating activities to support their families. The lady I will never forget was a woman living in slums in India. With a sanitation loan, she installed a toilet so that she and her daughters would have safe access to a bathroom. By paying a small fee, close neighbors could also use the restroom. Until that trip, I had never realized the danger women face that don't have this "luxury," says Sascha Noe, recalling her nine years of work as an Investment Manager & Impact Manager at CIM.
One of the highlights of our 25th Anniversary celebrations was a get-together with the team members who worked in Cordaid Investments over the years. Our festivities took place in our favorite Concordia - the Hague's cultural hotspot with a great social mission that reopened after the renovation. Reconnecting with colleagues at the start of impact investment activities made us realize where we are coming from. They have also shared the most memorable stories during their time at CIM.
Jacob Winter, former Finance Manager at CIM, told us another moving story about the loan end beneficiaries.
"In 2005, I traveled to India with Jan Postmus (now Senior Investment Manager at CIM); we visited several partner organizations, one of which was a microfinance institution for the Dalit (Scheduled Castes, the most disadvantaged socio-economic groups in India). One of their credit groups, 15 women, was so kind to talk to us about the program. After their presentations, Jan asked a few of them what was the most critical change in their lives, thanks to being a member of the credit group. The first woman said she had been able to start a bakery and was using the income for her children's school books and uniforms so they would not drop out. The second one told us about engaging in a small goat-rearing business.
Then came a young woman who hesitated but told her story. She said that being a member and a representative of her credit group in the MFI, she had learned to speak out. Then, for the first time in her life, she was heard by others.
Realizing that as a casteless woman, she had no right in society and her words would mean nothing to members of one of the official castes, I felt very touched and unable to withhold my tears. I hoped the credit group membership experience would allow her to have a career in MFI management or politics - so she could speak out for her community."
Motivating stories like this and the 25 years of impact at Cordaid Investments as a whole would not have been possible without all the former colleagues who contributed to the positive social impact we have achieved throughout the last quarter of the century.
We certainly enjoyed reconnecting with all of you; we hope you did too; see you all back at the 30 years celebration!