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Chetna Sinha

Founder and Chair, Mann Deshi Foundation

Chetna Sinha abandoned an urban lifestyle to pursue a career in farming in the drought-prone area of Maharashtra in Western India. She experienced first-hand the difficulties facing women in this region, from the lack of financial support to the fact that they were not treated as viable entrepreneurs. Chetna went on to develop India's first rural co-operative bank owned by women, the Mann Deshi Bank, a micro-enterprise development bank that works with low-income women and provides business loans. She established a women's chamber of commerce to offer support to female entrepreneurs and a business school for rural women to provide training in entrepreneurial skills. Since 1996, Chetna has been organizing women in rural areas of Maharashtra in the fight for land and property rights and launched a community radio station, providing a platform for sharing information.