This farm labourer was once denied a loan, today she runs rural banks for 435 villages

1st Feb 2016
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Rewabai is a resident of Gandhawal village in MP’s Barwani district. Although she never went to school and worked as a farm labourer for most part of her life, today she is the Chairperson of Mahila Samridhi Bank that has transformed Gandhawal and many neighbouring villages for good. So far, her bank has disbursed loans worth Rs 17 crore to poor villagers, which has saved them from being exploited by money lenders.

Image: Dainik Bhaskar
Image: Dainik Bhaskar

Back in 2010, when Rewabai was broke and needed some money, she visited a local bank and requested for a loan. To her surprise, Rewabai was denied a loan because she couldn’t produce any ornaments or land-papers for mortgage. She was saddened by the gap between the help being offered and the ones who need help, and decided to start her own bank.

She soon organised the women of her village and collected Rs 5 to Rs 10 from each of them. The word spread and she soon had enough deposits to start. She started investing the deposited money into breeding chickens and running a sewing shop, both run mostly by women.

Her bank was registered in 2011 and started disbursing loans to farmers who needed it. As of date, more than 56,000 women are associated with the bank. The federation has disbursed loans worth Rs 17 crore. The bank has deposits worth Rs12.50 crore, with no loan defaulters till date, Dainik Bhaskar reports.

Rewabai also holds a monthly meeting with the villagers to listen and address their grievances. Lives of farmers and women in Gandhawal and nearby villages are transforming, as they have a bank which they can trust. Rewabai told the Daily Bhaskar, “had the bank not lent the sum to me, I would have continued to work as a labourer in others field”.

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