Urban Ultra Poor Program

Despite the success of microfinance and other development initiatives, the bottom 5% of the poor are continually excluded. There are numerous slums, both declared and undeclared without access to adequate sanitation, housing, healthcare and employment facilities. Lack of basic amenities, food insecurity and high levels of debt are just some of the characteristics of this destitute section of society identified as the "ultra poor".

Parinaam and its strategic partner, Ujjivan Financial Services, realize that to be truly effective in treating poverty, the work must start from the bottom up with the poorest of the poor.

We believe that to economically and socially empower urban ultra poor (UUP) women and their families to break out of extreme poverty to the level of the bankable poor is through a holistic basket of assets which includes sustainable livelihood support and socio economic benefits.

The Parinaam Urban Ultra Poor Program aims at tackling generational and familial poverty rather than providing isolated individual female support, as do most ultra poor programs. The intensive program covers four critical components delivered over a period of 12 months. Monitoring of the families will continue for an additional 12 months on a "as needs" basis. The ultimate goal with the program is to make its participants stable and earning a steady income so they are eligible for microfinance. The four broad categories of interventions are cited below.

Parinaam's UUP Program was launched in September 2009 in a slum in Bangalore. Since its inception and until the end of June, 2013 there were 652 primary women beneficiaries and 3117 family members (including 1617 children). 158 women have graduated, 108 of them to microfinance services, and for 227 women we managed to get them their own bank accounts and thereby a safe place to save. This project has brought hope and change (parinaama) for a better life (ujjivan) to these women and their families.

The program is currently running in eight slums of Bangalore. We hope to roll out the program to other cities in India.