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Vijayalakshmi Das, The Mother of Micro Finance In India, Passes Away

Also known as Viji, she was the founder of FWWB (Friends of Women’s World Banking) in India

Vijayalakshmi Das passed away on Sunday at a hospital in Ahmedabad. (Image Credit: ujjivansfb.in)

Sunday brought a piece of sad news for all the persons involved in the field of finance, as Vijayalakshmi Das, 67, the mother of microfinance in India, passed away on February 9, 2020, at a hospital in Ahmedabad. Her commitment towards the micro-lending sector in the country is well known, and will always be remembered. She was the founder and CEO of FWWB (Friends of Women’s World Banking), which was the first-ever lender to provide credit support to more than 200 nationwide micro-lending institutions.

Das was always committed to increasing women entrepreneurship in the country.

Upon hearing the news of her demise, several well-known financial experts and professionals, who knew her throughout the years, have expressed their condolences. M S Sriram, professor at IITM, Bangalore, said that Vijayalakshmi’s death has left a void and it is "like losing a kind-hearted mother and mentor", for those in the financial space.

“She had played a crucial role in the evolution of this space in India,” he said.

Praseeda Kunam, the CEO of Samhita Community Development Services Microfinance (SCDSM), and who had known Das for many years, is still not able to believe that the mother of microfinance is no more.

For Kunam, Das was fearless when it came to taking risks and also helping young faces in financing.

Vijayalakshmi was a post-graduate in economics, and also did advanced courses in economics, from Economic Institute, Harvard Institute for International Development and the Women’s World Banking, USA.

Vijay Mahajan, the founder of Basix, back in 1996, and today the CEO of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, had also regarded her as the mentor and funder. Other leaders in the financial arena, like Jayshree Vyas, SEWA Bank’s managing director, also closely knew the late FWWB founder.

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