ESAF Group is strengthening its presence across North East India region by setting up its regional office at Guwahati in Assam. The regional office was inaugurated by K. Paul Thomas, founder of ESAF. “Venturing into North East India is a major milestone in the history of ESAF. Our focus is to empower the poor and the marginalized especially women, children and youth by providing them access to education, finance, health services, natural resources, marketing and technological support and to explore the fullest human potential by creating opportunities for sustainable development and holistic transformation. Once they are economically empowered, all the other things will follow, said K Paul Thomas, while inaugurating the regional office at Guwahati.
ESAF will be starting with development programs in Assam and Manipur and plans to work through partnering with different NGOs and government bodies in the region. ESAF SFB started operations in March 2017 is also planning to expand its network of retail banking outlets in Assam and Manipur in this financial year. Within three years, the group will further expand their banking operations in unbanked areas of north eastern states like Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. As an initiative in North Eastern region, the group has already started a community school at Majoli, Assam in 2016 and engages in social activities over there, K Paul Thomas added.
Mereena Paul, Co-founder of ESAF and Chairman, ESAF Co-operative presided. Rev. Dr. A. K. Lama, South Asia Director of Words of Hope and former General Secretary, CBCNEI (Council of Baptist Churches of North East India) delivered the key note address. Dr. Lama commended on ESAF’s commitment to work in the North East India and said that he hopes that ESAF will be able to make a difference in the region. Javed Parvesh, Chief Reporter, Malayala Manorama, Emy Acha Paul, Director, ESAF Retail Pvt. Ltd., Alok Thomas Paul, Director, ESAF Retail Pvt. Ltd., Samu Thomas John, Director, Prachodhan Development Services Pvt. Ltd. and Ajith Sen, Associate Director, ESAF also spoke.
At present ESAF presence in 11 states, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puthuchery, Delhi, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Child development and educational projects like community transformation hubs focusing on children, ‘Let Them Smile’ project which offers support to the tribal children in Jharkhand, environment protection programmes, integrated livelihood interventions and sustainable health programmes are some of the major projects run by ESAF in different states of India. Small Farmers Agricultural Consortium (SFAC) has empanelled ESAF as a Resource Institute to mobilize Farmers and to register them as Producer companies in 6 states of India namely Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. NABARD has approved ESAF as a “Producer Organization Promoting Institution (POPI)”.