When young people in Mehsana’s Sarsav village dream of pursuing a post-graduate degree in the US, their parents don’t have to put at stake their life’s savings or approach a bank for an exorbitant loan. Help is available at the local Shiv temple, through which the entire Diaspora of Sarsav residents in the US takes care of the funding.
This unique community network supporting migration has caught the eye of researchers who say it is rare to find such systems outside Gujarat. They have found a similar system in Nandasan, another village of Mehsana where each family living abroad makes a tiny donation – a ‘chandlo’ – to fund migration of other villagers.
Dr Neerja Arun, the director of Gujarat University’s study abroad programme, said: “We are documenting this modern-day hundi system, which supports young graduates from rural areas.”
Arun says when someone decides to go abroad, the entire village donates money to the temple. The temple in turn informs NRGs from the village who provide the same amount to an aspiring migrant in dollars when he arrives in the US. The temple then refunds the NRGs.
Among the migrants is Gopal Ramshankar, who gathered nearly Rs 12 lakh from villagers which was entrusted to the temple authorities. When he reached the US to study for a professional course he was given the same amount by NRGs living there.

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