Making the highly fragmented remittance market more transparent is just one step in. Remit4Change is a program that does that while addressing the root causes of migration.
Remit4Change, a division of Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action (TIGRA), gives remitters not only a way of saving money, but the agency to improve education, health, and economic opportunities in their home countries and immigrant communities in the United States.
“We want to provide migrants with that sense of rediscovery, new meaning to their migration story,” says Francis Calpotura,the founder of TIGRA . “People want to know that their leaving hasn’t gone to waste, that they can contribute meaningfully. It strikes at the core of their reason for leaving.”
Firstly, Remit4Change aims to save migrants money. The program program accredits banks and remittance agencies that charge fair prices for sending money. TIGRA’s endorsement tells the customer that the company is committed to fair prices, and will provide all pricing information prior to the transaction. So far, TIGRA has accredited Nexxo, ATMCash, Community Financial Resources, and HyperRemit.
When a remitter sends money through a company that participates in Remit4Change, he or she can funnel a small portion of the remittance charge to the sustainable development program of their choice.
One project that TIGRA helped set into motion directed a small amount of remittance agency profits into helping rural Filipina women start a business to help sustain themselves. The women make and sell traditional fishing nets made from coconut husks. The initial capital that was needed to employ these 77 women was $100. Another project is establishing a women-run cooperative to make organic Mexican mole and salsa for export.
Remit4Change also supports immigrant community organizations in the United States. One helps low-income Latina women to start green businesses. Another one organizes for better conditions for Filipino workers in the Los Angeles area.