Born in Mumbai, Chetna Sinha moved to Mhaswad as a student activist in the JP Movement.

She watched farmers move to cities during drought, leaving their wives and families.

Realizing that the women could solve their own problems, Sinha organized Self-Help Groups (SHGs) to save and loan collectively.

Then the SHGs began paying for neighbors' medical costs and transportation to school.

One SHG leader, Laxmi Shellar, began literacy night classes to teach women like herself, who were pulled out of school too soon.

In 1996, Chetna Sinha launched Mann Deshi Foundation to formalize the SHG community development.

To formalize their microlending, she helped SHG members launch Mann Deshi Bank in 1997.

Over the years, Mann Deshi has won international recognition for its programs, which include e-banking, a radio station, and an MBA program.

Yet Mann Deshi is still staffed by local women, as much a people's organization as it was at its founding.