EMPOWERING: NRI teen’s loans help over 1,000 women globally

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(August 11, 2021) Gobhanu Sasankar Korisepati, an Indian-origin student in Muscat, has developed a unique microfinance concept for women across the globe. Modeled after Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank, Gobhanu’s concept titled Sustaining Women in Financial Turmoil (SWIFT) has so far benefited over 1,000 women in 77 countries.  

  • Formed in September 2020, SWIFT came about when the 16-year-old interned with Grameen Bank for three months. He wanted to bridge the financial inequalities in India by making financial services more accessible to the those who really needed it. He wanted there to be a way for the poor to access loans minus the complexities that usually accompany a traditional financial loan such as collateral and proof of income – he found these discriminatory against the poor. He raised 10,000 Omani Riyal (₹ 19.8 lakh) through his parents, friends and relatives to finance women who run small businesses.  
  • His interest-free loans have a recovery rate of 98.75% and most of his beneficiaries are either farmers, weavers, or artisans and traders. For this venture, Gobhanu tied up with Kiva, a San Francisco-based NGO that runs background checks and recommends beneficiaries for the loans. In an interview with Times of India, Gobhanu said that he preferred extending interest-free loans over donating money as this way he could recycle the money and create a bigger impact across the world.

 

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