farmer, and activist, Chetna Gala Sinha works for social change in some of the
poorest and most drought-stricken areas of rural India. She founded and is
currently the president of the Mann Deshi Mahila micro-enterprise development
bank. 100 percent of Mann Deshi clients are poor women with annual incomes
averaging 40 rupees ($1) per day. The Bank currently has 4 branches, over
58,000 clients and 5,600 members, and conducts 930 transactions on a daily
basis. The bank provides services to over 2,359 Self Help Groups, each with
10-20 women. Chetna also founded Mann
Vikas Samajik Sanstha NGO, which strives to enhance the economic empowerment
and advancement of rural women through savings and lending, education, property
rights, and social security initiatives.
Most recently, Chetna started Mann Deshi Udyogini Business School for
Rural Women. This micro-business school
is the first of its kind in India and seeks to provide women with formal training
in practical, income-generating areas.
initiatives of the Bank and NGO, Chetna has promoted a holistic approach to
helping women in rural areas – one that combines economic activity with the
educational tools and health care necessary for leading a productive life. Each
success story has inspired new innovation and creativity, and Chetna credits
the rural women she is serving as her consistent inspiration to expand the
services and capabilities of the Bank and the NGO in order to better meet their
honored with the 2005 Jankidevi Bajaj Puraskar award for rural
entrepreneurship. This national award honors a woman who has made an
outstanding contribution to the uplift and welfare of women and children,
particularly in rural areas. Recently, the Business School for Rural Women
received worldwide attention when the Economist mentioned it in its “News from
the schools” report. Chetna is the
mother of three sons and lives in Mhaswad, where Mann Deshi Mahila Bank has its
headquarters. Born in Mumbai, she earned her Masters degree in Commerce and
Economics from Mumbai University in 1982. Chetna was a leader in the Jayprakash
Narayan student activist movement at the end of the 1970s, which fought for the
democratic and basic human rights of the rural and marginalized communities
during the Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. She was also actively involved in the
landless labor movement carried out by the Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Vahini in
Bihar. Since 1996, she has been organizing women in rural areas of Maharashtra
in the fight for their property rights.
about her journey, Importance of pushing the limits, Basic Human rights and why
do we need them. She engages audience with her bold and confident style.
When Speaking Minds was founded in 2007 in New Zealand, little did we envisage that this would grow into an international brand with offices in India and London in less than a decade. We set up the business to share what we had learnt, from the privileges we have had in our jobs – of access to knowledge.
Bringing India to the rest of the world was our driving force.
The dna of our business is genuinely about sharing knowledge with the
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