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Plant City Observer Friday, Oct. 7, 2016 1 year ago

Crushing the jaws of loan sharks

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High school student Jairang Yarlagadda has started a nonprofit to bring financial stability to his community.

By Casey Jeanite
Staff Intern

There are lots of different ways high school students spend their time, from wondering what they should wear tomorrow to touching up fourth period’s homework during third period. But few students spend their time thinking about the nonprofits they've started. 

Jairang Yarlagadda is one of those high school students, and The Fair Pact Foundation is his nonprofit charity. The Fair Pact Foundation’s goal is to provide low-income borrowers with interest-free loans for a variety of unexpected emergencies.

The idea came while the Strawberry Crest student was listening to his favorite NPR podcast on WUSF, “Planet Money.” This past spring, while tuned into an episode of “Planet Money,” Yarlagadda learned about an economic crisis affecting the American public: the stressful and destabilizing shock a person can fall into when faced with an unexpected financial catastrophe.

About 60% of Americans have experienced a financial shock within the last 12 months, according to The Pew Charitable Trust. From home and auto repair to trips to the hospital, the median cost of households’ most expensive shock has been estimated at $2,000.

Many turn to payday lenders or loan sharks to pay off their debts because of their speed, ease and convenience of the lenient criteria for short-term loans. This can actually send them deeper into debt because of high interest rates. 

Yarlagadda decided to do something to help families, and he created The Fair Pact Foundation.

“My dad told me at any time he could go into this exact financial crisis,” Yarlagadda said. “No one is immune. Sometimes people aren’t fortunate enough to have a safety net like a family member of someone close to you who could help you out. Then you forced to get a payday loan that will cause you to go into this spiral of debt.”

Over the summer, Yarlagadda interned at System Soft Technologies, a local tech company. There he received the professional help he needed to build and set up a good financial base for the foundation.

“Without that internship I probably wouldn’t be able to set up an effective website for people to find the help they need,” Yarlagadda said. 

The Fair Pact Foundation provides quick loans up to $1,000 directly to the third party on behalf of the borrowers to ensure safety and efficiency. 

The Fair Pact Foundation also has a system of trust, which means no punishment for not paying back a loan on time. But providing loans isn’t the only focus of The Fair Pact Foundation. It also provides free financial counseling to help bring families to a stable financial environment. 

“Giving a loan to somebody in need will only get them half way,” Yarlagadda said. “They still need to get through boundaries and cycles of fees.” 

He is looking for donations and volunteers to help his first borrower. Those interested in donating or volunteering can visit TheFairPact.org.

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