Vashti Seth set up Deki in 2008, after she was inspired by a Tibetan refugee called Deki Dolkha. Aged four, Deki Dolkha was put on the back of donkey cart by her parents and sent to India in the hope that she would have a better chance at life. Deki ended up in an orphanage in Dharamsala where Vashti's father then met her and sponsored her through school.
Vashti often heard her father talk of Deki and after his sudden death in 2005 Vashti decided to visit Deki in India. They stayed in touch via email, however, once Deki had finished school, poverty and lack of opportunities forced her to return to her estranged family in remote, rural Tibet. There, she had little chance to put her education to good use.
This experience, along with £2,000 and note 'to do something good' left by her father motivated Vashti to want to help people in developing countries work their way out of poverty. Deki was the first charity in the UK to raise loan capital through lenders and donors and provides microloans and training for people in developing countries who don't want to rely on handouts.
With an average loan size of £190 a number of people will lend to each entrepreneur. 100% of the money loaned goes directly to that person and within 12 months the money is paid back - it can then be returned to the lender or re-lent to another entrepreneur. Even a small initial investment can help a number of people to raise themselves out of poverty. Learn how Deki works.
Deki’s Vision and Mission
- Vision - A world full of opportunity, not poverty.
- Mission - To empower people in the developing world to work their way out of poverty
- Empowerment: We empower everyone involved with Deki. We empower our entrepreneurs to work their way out of poverty and our supporters and our team to change lives.
- Accountability: We take personal responsibility for using our resources efficiently to achieve measurable results. We are accountable to both our supporters and to the people we support.
- Positivity: We believe that we can achieve a better future. We set ourselves high goals are committed to improving everything we do.
- Innovation: We will continue to take advantage of the link between technology and the global economy to ensure our impact is as effective and far-reaching as possible.
- Transparency: We want to set ourselves apart from other charities, we want our lenders to always know exactly where 100% of their money goes.
What Makes Deki Unique
- Approach to partnership – Deki seeks partnerships with small organisations who want to develop services for largely unserved populations in the developing world. We look for organisations who are running small programmes, but who are lacking the capital and technical expertise to expand and meet the needs of their community. Once we agree a partnership, Deki works closely with those organisations to provide technical assistance and development support to help them grow ethically and sustainably.
- Field partner – Deki chooses to work with smaller organisations with the potential to grow in a sustainable way.
- Portfolio exposure – For very small Field Partners, Deki starts off funding a very large percentage of their total loan portfolio. We then work with them over time, to diversify their income streams. As the Field Partner grows and develops the capability to manage other sources of income, the percentage of their loan portfolio funded by Deki reduces. This helps both the Field Partner and Deki by allowing us to both reduce our risk and dependence on one another, while also growing to meet the demand of clients. The end goal for Deki is to withdraw our loan capital completely and leave an efficient and sustainable organisation to continue operating well into the future.
- Loan size – Deki’s maximum loan amount is £500. Field Partners in country have the ability to offer bigger loans, but Deki is focused on supporting small businesses with small loan. We are especially focused on supporting those who don’t have access to bank loans. These businesses are not considered large enough for other microfinance charities to support. Our target entrepreneurs are start-up businesses and small expansion loans. Deki is focused on grass roots.
- Currency exposure – Unlike some other charities, who lend and receive repayments from partners in USD, Deki lends and receives repayments from our Field Partners in their local currency. Currency fluctuation is a risk Deki lenders accept which means Field Partners and entrepreneurs in country are exposed to significantly less risk. As small fledgling organisations and businesses, this can significantly reduce costs for field partners, which means less cost is passed on to entrepreneurs and more money is available for reinvestment. We make the process of starting and growing a business as easy and simple as possible for the entrepreneurs.