Microfinance Helps Women in Rural India Find Paths out of Poverty | Asian Development Bank

Microfinance Helps Women in Rural India Find Paths out of Poverty

Video | 1 March 2018

In India, ADB works with microfinance institutions through its Microfinance Risk Participation and Guarantee Program to help borrowers, who are mainly rural women, start and expand their small and medium-sized businesses.

A microfinance loan helped buffalo milk supplier Sunita Devi Tomar grow her small business and turn her life around. Millions of other women across Asia now have the same opportunity. 


Uttar Pradesh, India, home to over 200 million.

Buffalo milk gives a boost to household incomes in this north Indian state.

Many rural women run small businesses as buffalo milk suppliers.

Getting started requires capital.

The Asian Development Bank works with microfinance institutions through the Microfinance Risk Participation and Guarantee Program.

"My husband and I were farm laborers. It was a tough life," says Sunita Devi Tomar, a buffalo milk supplier.

"We had to get the seeds and manure on time.  We had to borrow money at high interest rates.

"It was very tough. We struggled to pay our children’s school fees.

"We also had to borrow money from our neighbors on interest. It was hard to return this.

"I’ve been in the buffalo milk business for 8 years.

"We had one buffalo and we used to supply milk to the village and town.

"To build my business, I took a loan (from a microfinance institution).

"Now we have 2 buffaloes, we are able to sell more milk and earn more money.  

"My life improved with this additional income.

"I’ve been able to pay for my children’s fees in a private school on time.

"Today, my 2 sons work in the industrial belt nearby. I want them to get jobs in the government.

"My daughter still goes to school and I want her to finish her studies.

"One day when I grow old, I want to have enough savings so that I can live a comfortable life.

"Even if I’m unable to work physically, I don’t want to depend on my children financially. That’s my own dream for myself."

ADB works with private banks to mobilize funds for microfinance institutions.

More than $600 million has been invested in microfinance lenders in India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh in recent years.

And that has put 3.49 million borrowers, mostly rural women, one big step closer, to achieving their dreams.