November 30, 2018

#WATWB -Entrepreneur with Social Impact

Meet Chetna Gala Sinha who grew up in Mumbai and while in college did her Master‘s in Economics from Mumbai University, drawn to Jayaprakash Narayans brand of socialist politics wherein she met her husband Vijay sinha, an activist farmer from Mhaswad, and relocated in 1987.

She speaks about her experience of living in the village and she had no idea that the house did not have a toilet and Vijay asked her to go to the fields behind the house and carry a stick  should pigs come following. That’s what inspired her to do something to bring about a change in this village. Which brought about a paradigm shift, from down with capitalism slogans to petitioning for toilets in the house, electricity in the village, and fighting with bus station masters about three hour delays says sinha.

She suffered her first set back when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rejected her application, in 1996 on the grounds that some of the promoting members were non literate. Sinha came back to the village dejected, but the other villagers pushed her to organize literacy classes. In five months, Sinha went back to the Reserve Bank of India with a fresh application and the women in tow.

She is the founder and chairperson of the Mann Deshi Mahila Sahkari Bank, a microfinance bank which lends to women in rural areas. She is also the founder and president of the Mann Deshi Foundation.  Mann Deshi Mahila Sahkari Bank was the first bank in the country for and by rural women to get a cooperative license from Reserve Bank of India. In the two decades since the bank was set up with a working capital. It reached over 3,10,000 women providing them with the financial backing and emotional impetus to become successful entrepreneurs. She faced the challenge of dwindling customers by introducing  doorstep banking and started visiting villagers at their homes for transactions.

Mann Deshi provides a powerful platform for women’s empowerment in India. It sets itself apart by being one of the only organizations focusing on both – access to finance on one hand, and to financial and business literacy on the other. It also runs financial literacy classes, where women are taught the ropes of savings, investing, insurances and loans through modules that comprise games.

Chetna Gala Sinha is a beautiful example of how every problem has a solution for those who are daring to look for solutions and explore ways and means to address. For those who are willing never to give up .. there’s always opportunities to face the challenges and address them .  For further reading you can check these links:

The co hosts for this month are Eric Lahti Inderpreet UppalShilpa GargPeter NenaDamyanti Biswas.  Please do visit them.

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  1. Chetna Gala Sinha is indeed a hero Genevive! Banks are beginning to realise that women are responsible and in many (if not most) instances make better investors in the use of micro-financing. Thank you for this amazing story and have a great week! xx

    1. True Susan I have heard that women are better in handling money; there are now so many CEO's who are women and they do an excellent job, and its wonderful to see women getting empowered and I am hoping for more power to women. Thanks for stopping by:)


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