PROF MUHAMMAD YUNUS

Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus created the concept of micro-credit. In 1976, Professor Yunus started to experiment with providing collateral free loans to the poor. Today Grameen Bank has over 8.4 million borrowers, 97% of whom are women. Professor Yunus’ microcredit idea has spread to almost all countries in the world. He is also the co-founder of Yunus Social Business, which creates and empowers social businesses to address social problems around the world.

ARUNA ROY

A political and social activist whose work led to the enactment of the Right to Information Act in 2005. In 1990 she helped found the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sagathan. Roy has helped to shape the MNREGA, helped expand public accountability, most recently through pre-legislative consultation and grievance redressal mechanisms. She is presently campaigning for a universal old-age pension in India.

JEAN DRÈZE

A development economist who has been influential in Indian economic and social policymaking and a peace activist. His work focuses on hunger, gender inequality, child health and education, employment guarantee and food security. He is currently an Honorary Professor at the Delhi School of Economics and Visiting Professor at the Department of Economics, Ranchi University.

MADHAV CHAVAN

A social activist and entrepreneur, he is the co-founder and CEO of the educational non-profit Pratham. Chavan’s development work began in the slums of Mumbai in 1989. Pratham was founded with UNICEF in 1994. Pratham works towards the provision of quality education to underprivileged children in India, with supporting chapters around the world. It now reaches 3 million primary aged children each year.

HARISH HANDE

A social entrepreneur and co-founder of SELCO India. SELCO provides sustainable energy solutions to under-served households and businesses. Hande’s approach questions three assumptions: that the poor cannot afford clean and sustainable energy; that they cannot maintain such systems; and that an organisation cannot operate a commercial venture while trying to meet social objectives.

ELA BHATT

A co-operative organiser, activist and Gandhian, she founded the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA) in 1972 which now has over 1 million members. Since then, Bhatt has founded and chaired numerous organisations that aim to improve the lives of the poorest and most marginalised women workers, notably through microfinance. She was also a Member of Parliament and a Member of the Indian Planning Commission.

HARSH MANDER

A social worker and writer, he works with survivors of mass violence, victims of hunger, homeless people, street children, minorities, bonded workers and other marginalised people. He is the Director of the Centre for Equity Studies, and Special Commissioner to the Supreme Court of India in the Right to Food case.

VIJAY MAHAJAN

Vijay Mahajan is the President of MicroFinance Institutions Network (MFIN) of India. In 1983, he established PRADAN which works with over 120,000 poor householkods, promoting livelihoods and community institutions. Vijay is the founder and CEO of the BASIX Social Enterprise Group, engaged in livelihood promotion of low income households in over 20 states in India and six countries since 1996.
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