Love of money may be the root of all evil – but lack of it is definitely the root of a lot of problems. Like the poverty underlying illegal child labour and modern slavery in the cocoa industry. Or the lack of financial authority for over 40% of women in India, adding to systemic gender inequality. By supporting disadvantaged and often illiterate women to gain access to their own savings accounts, Chetna Gala Sinha is changing that..
Chetna is an activist, banker and farmer who created the world’s first banking system for women in rural areas. Women for whom other banks would not open accounts – and who were subsequently unable to save, take out loans or invest in their families.
“Never provide poor solutions to poor people.”
Thanks to Chetna’s Mann Deshi Bank, over 100,000 women now have access to savings accounts, micro-loans and pension plans. With secure access via fingerprint technology so as not to exclude the majority of customers who are illiterate. The Mann Deshi Foundation also runs business schools, a community radio and a local chamber of commerce.
In Episode 4 of Tony’s Chocolloquium, Chetna talks to Amelia Høy about tirelessly campaigning for women’s financial rights over two decades, how those who have most are most likely to deny most, and how rejection can become your main motivation in life.