Microfinance for Disabled People: How is it Contributing

Debashis Sarker

Abstract


Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) overlooked the responsibility to include disabled people into their mainstream program. Disabled people face extreme poverty and discrimination from family, society, institutions as well as government. Though it is claimed that microfinance is for poverty reduction, empowerment of poor and vulnerable people but there are very few examples exists that microfinance served disabled people. Some MFIs or donor funded projects piloted some experiments around the globe and they found that disabled people are economically active. Disabled people also appear as the best clients, self employed and confident. However, these people constitute a good market segment for MFIs. But locating and including disabled people in the conventional microfinance practices is also challenging. Providing loan or savings service is not enough for them but MFIs could offer credit plus approach, recruit disability friendly staff, developing policies for more concentration and implementation, including disability issue in the training curriculum to change mindset of staff etc. Beyond that MFIs might build strategic partnership with Disabled Peoples Organizations (DPOs) to get effective information, better access and ensure financial inclusion. This article would focus on several issues of disability and poverty, forms of discrimination and obstacles faced by disabled people to get access to microfinance, contribution of microfinance for these disadvantaged people, challenges of MFIs for designing specific program and financial inclusion for disabled people.

Keywords: Microfinance, Poverty, Disability, Discrimination, Contribution.


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