Standing up to Predatory Moneylenders

The Situation: Dalit women, members of India’s lowest caste, face a daily struggle to find clean water, get food for their families, and to live in safety. Predatory moneylenders exacerbate their problems by charging outrageous interest rates for loans. The members of a grassroots women’s human rights organization called Parivartan Kendra (PK), took action and created a self-help savings groups to free themselves from debt and put predatory moneylenders out of business. During one of the group meetings, moneylenders burst in, seized a woman named Sunita, dragged and beat her and threatened all meeting participants with death. Out of prejudice and fear, local villagers boycotted Sunita’s business.

The Rapid Response: With support from Urgent Action Fund, PK members provided safe shelter for their members in an undisclosed location, pressured the authorities for justice, and launched an education campaign about violence against women.

The Impact: The perpetrators were imprisoned, and Sunita now lives in her village without fear. Moreover, the villagers lifted their boycott of Sunita’s business.