Frequently Asked Questions

This page includes answers on frequently asked questions. Should you have more questions, feel free to contact us through the contact form.

Our background

When was Microcredit for Mothers founded?

The foundation, which was founded by Erlijn Sie and Samtha Rolefes, officially started its activities in May 2005. Both working in the commercial sector, they shared a huge fascination for Asia and microcredit. They wanted to get involved by doing more than merely transferring money. Their big example was Mohammed Yunnus, founder of microcredit in Bangladesh. Providing small loans enabling income-generating activity, that is what they believed in. Microcredit for Mothers started with a small project in Sri Lanka.


Why did you start the foundation?

From the belief in entrepreneurship as a motor for development. We don’t believe in giving money, but in people’s strength and autonomy. We don’t hand out fish; we provide the fishing rod enabling people to catch fish themselves. With this in mind, we started loaning money to local partners in Asia. They then provide the microcredits to the women.

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Our approach

Do you charge interest?

We work with local partners whom we advise to charge to interest, to enable them to cover their costs. Based on the interest rate in the country involved, we do set a maximum rate they can charge. However, some partners choose to refrain from charging any interest. Some prefer ‘interest’ in the form of community work, whereas others can’t charge interest due to their Buddhist beliefs. We allow our partners the freedom to make these decisions for themselves.


Why do you focus on women?

As far as the target group is concerned, Microcredit for Mothers agrees with the United Nations’ point of view: 'In a world where most poor people are women, studies have shown that access to financial services has improved the status of women within the family and the community. Women have become more assertive and confident. Furthermore, as a result of microfinance, women own assets, including land and housing, play a stronger role in decision-making, and take on leadership roles in their communities.' The UN microfinance report (2002) summarises the reasons for providing microcredits to women most of all as follows: '...because the poorest households rely more heavily on women’s income; because it not only benefits the women but also their families (and communities).'


Do you also provide loans to men?

If a married woman applies for a loan to buy, for instance a pedicab, and it is common knowledge that only men ride pedicabs in the country involved, we will definitely provide the small loan. However, we do provide the microcredit to the woman, not the man, because we believe in women’s reliability. A woman, more than anyone else, know what is best for her family.


Aren’t you afraid the loan will not be paid back?

We select our local partners very carefully. We visit them, build a relationship of trust, and evaluate the projects on a quarterly basis. The local partners select the women, talk to them every day, have weekly discussion meetings with them and closely monitor their progress. Of course, we run a risk, as we work with a group of people not accepted by official financial institutions. However, experience shows 98% of the women in our projects pay back the loan. They are so grateful to our partners for believing in them, that they will do anything to be successful.


Why don’t you just give them a bike or a sewing machine?

With a loan a woman doesn’t need to ask for money. With a loan a woman works for her income. Thus, with a loan, she is taken seriously. A loan teaches her and makes her understand the rules of an economy. Moreover, with our loans, she doesn’t fall victim to the shady practice of charging over 40% interest rate. This is often the only way women can get money. Two thirds of the world population have no access to a normal bank account, savings account, insurance etc.

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Our organization

Why don’t you have a seal of approval by the Central Bureau on Fundraising?

A CBF seal of approval costs money. The costs can go up to hundreds of euros per year. Microcredit for Mothers prefers to spend as much of the donated money as possible on the women in Asia. To provide still a guarantee of reliability, information regarding all the foundation’s activities, revenues and expenses are accessible to and traceable by anyone. We publish these results on our website, in the form of numbers, investments and annual reports.


Does the foundation incur costs?

The foundation strives to spend as much money as possible on the women. We therefore work with volunteers instead of paid personnel. Also, we don’t have an office or any fixed costs. We do spend a small part of our funds on the volunteers’ travel expenses (we strive to visit our local partners at least once a year).


How do you ensure the (donated) money is spent as it should be?

Every year our volunteers travel to Asia to evaluate some of the running projects and visit the women involved. The goal is to visit every microcredit project at least once a year. Of course we check the amounts lent out and paid back of all our microcredit projects on a quarterly basis. Before any loans are provided, our local partners give us a list with the names of all the women receiving a microcredit. These lists contain information on the women such as their age, how many children they have and what they will spend the microcredit on. During our visit, we can use them to check that the money has indeed been spent as it should have been.


Who pays for the trips to Asia?

The foundation helps the volunteers with a small contribution. The remaining expenses are covered by the volunteer.

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Microcredit in general

What is a microcredit?

A microcredit is a small loan (our average microcredit is EUR 108) lent out to underprivileged people who would like to start a business but need money to material or machines or who would like to extend an existing market stall. In developing countries, running your own business is often the only way of ensuring an income. With a small loan, production and thus income can be doubled or even tripled. Microcredit is an effective way of helping people on their way towards economic independence.


Does microcredit work?

Muhammad Yunus is the originator of microcredit and founder of the first microfinance bank in Bangladesh, Grameen Bank. He is a big inspiration to us, as he showed us that microcredits work. Studies show that people who have received a microcredit earn 20% more than those who haven’t. It’s not without reason that he received the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2006.

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Donate or bequeath?

Should you consider to donate, once or regularly, or bequeath money, goededoelen.nl can help you on your way. This site includes information on tax deduction, inheritance tax, gift tax and more. It is possible to give us a fiscal gift, for which we have made arrangements with a notary. If you are interested, let us know through the contact form.


Is a donation to Microcredit for Mothers fiscally deductible?

Only organizations classified by the Dutch tax authorities as a “Public Benefit Organization" (Dutch: Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling or ANBI) can use fiscal advantages. We are thus very happy to have been classified as such in 2007, as donations made to us are now deductible.

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Help us

Can I help Microcredit for Mothers as a volunteer on one of the projects in Asia?

Should you be travelling to one of the countries we are active in, please feel free to contact us. We can then look at current need for action in that country together. There might be a need to take new photos of the women, conduct interviews, evaluate the project, or investigate new possibilities.


How can I contribute financially?

The majority of Microcredit for Mothers’ fund comes from donations from businesses and individuals. As a private individual, you can contribute in several ways. More information on these can be found on our donation page.

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Become a partner

Can a company start a partnership with Microcredit for Mothers?

Ever since our foundation, we have worked with several businesses supporting Microcredit for Mothers in one way or another. As we believe in the force of multiplication: together, we can achieve a lot. Businesses support us financially as well as in kind. The latter ranges from knowledge exchange to making use of services, expertise, materials and facilities. For example: travel agency Namasté Reizen books our trips at a reduced tariff and VDMi builds our website pro bono. If you would like to read more, have a look at our partner page.


Can I choose a specific country or project for my donation to be spent on?

It is possible to indicate which country and/or project you would like your donation to go to. However, this does depend on the amount you donate. On average, setting up a new project costs EUR 5,400 (50 women x an average microcredit of EUR 108). Therefore, should you wish to finance your own project, these are the minimal amounts you need to keep in mind.

The majority of Microcredit for Mothers’ fund comes from donations from businesses and individuals. As a private individual, you can contribute in several ways. More information on these can be found on our donation page.


How do you select your partners?

We select our local partners very carefully. We support those organizations that are left out by larger funds, looking for those partners that may have too few funds but do have the passion, network and endurance to help people with microcredits. Once we have found a potential partner, we visit them in person before transferring any money.


How do you determine which projects to provide loans to?

Together with our partners, we decide which group of women, thus which projects, will receive a loan.


Can one of your volunteers give a presentation on microcredit or the foundation?

We love sharing our story and that of the women with individuals, businesses and networks. Feel free to contact us if you are interested!

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What is the Cooking Month?

Five years ago, we started organizing the Cooking Month every October. This month is all about ‘cooking for mothers.’ The idea is to try to gain awareness of our women in Asia by cooking. By cooking for your own guests, you can help entrepreneurial mothers in Asia. Read more about the Cooking Month.


What is the Female Leadership Journey?

Together with LAB for Leaders, Microcredit for Mothers organizes leadership journeys to one of the countries we are active in. The goal is to discover, develop and strengthen your female leadership. You will not only be coached and guided by two professional LAB for Leaders coaches, but also contribute to the Microcredit for Mothers women financially. You will visit one of the projects and discuss leadership with the women as well as work in the fields with them to truly experience their daily lives. There will be yoga and meditation sessions every day. Read more about our Female Leadership Journeys.

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Get involved. Donate now
With EUR 16.50 per month, we can help one woman on her way towards economic independence.
Starting at EUR 50 a woman in Nepal can buy one goat to sell milk.
Starting at EUR 130 a woman in Indonesia can start her own sewing studio.
Starting at EUR 275 a woman in India can buy one cow. Producing 4 liters of milk every day, which can be sold for an average of EUR 1.75.
From EUR 5,000 we can indicate in which country your donation will be spent. And a new project can be started from EUR 9,000 onwards.