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Building a Microfinance Sector that is Accessible to Persons with Disabilities

2:02: We begin with: Harisha Varatharajah from Handicap International. Attitudinal barriers to people with disabilities in microfinance. Handicap International (FRENCH, NOT ABLEIST) tries to find a sustainable approach to provide microfinance to the differently abled. They try to integrate access into the mainstream MFIs, not set up a different system.

2:03: They set up a program in Gujarat, to help people increase savings & credit access, encourage MFIs to stop being ableist. Disability is just not physical/superficial, there are so many ways, and so many skills differently abled people have! So true.

2:04: MFIs they worked with have changed…some changes are verifiable with data, others less so (higher self esteem). Did they randomize? Did they just do a post-intervention study? RANDOMIZE GUYS,

2:05: Uh oh, ATTRITION BIAS STRIKES AGAIN! Two NGOs dropped out to international organizational “issues”.

2:06: AND NOW SELECTION BIAS: What if the differently abled who DID take out loans self selected due to internal and external barriers? “Microfinance does not automatically lead to self promotion”. PREACH SISTER.

2:07: HI has a twin track approach: working with the differently abled & the MFI.

2:10: Joshua Goldstein: from CFI/ACCION. “Transformational opportunity to do well by doing good”. PLATITUDES, WHY???

2:12: “Poverty causes disability and disability causes poverty”. Simultaneous causality in action!

2:13: This is addressing a market failure: there is a legal case, a moral case, and a business case. Interesting. India was one of the first countries to ratify the convention on persons with disabilities in 2007. Holla!

2:15: “We’re all one auto accident away from requiring assistance”.  I just got chills.

2:17: The CFI does a lot of writing for disability inclusion.

2:21: Inclusion of the differently abled is a problem all over the freaking world.

2:22: “The society for elimination of rural poverty”—Vengal Reddy.

2:27: Bank linkages from the Stree Nidhi Cooperative Credit Federation, owned by CBO of Women. “Total online transaction, mobile enabled”. COOL.

2:31: “SHGs reached more than 3 lakh people with disabilities & brought these to scale”

2:31: Equitas rep: “The moment I joined Equitas, I was very interested in the social inclusion aspect”. I'm happy for you bro…

2:33: “Conscious decision to target ultra poor, physically disadvantaged included”

2:38: “Working with mentally ill & rehabilitated individuals. If they are unable to consent, we will work with their families” They want to work with any NGOs, so ladies and gentlemen, get in line.

2:41: “Sensitivity training is a must” “They are people, not conditions. Not being able to assess the ability of a person with disability”…acceptance should come from the top management of the MFI. Yeah!

Choice Quotes from the Q&A

2:53: “Biggest barrier is the attitudinal barrier. Putting in a ramp isn’t hard”

2:57: “We are like the indian cricket team: individual champions, collectively a failure” That is HILARIOUS.


  1. Anu, you made my conference.
    And also, to any of you who might think that "non-ableist French" is an oxymoron, I'd like to say that oxymorons are poetic, poetry can make even the ugliest attractive, hence the French are attractive. QED.


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