Sadly, we learned of the passing of Vijayalaskhmi Das earlier this week.
Viji was an accomplished microfinance operator in India, a highly respected advocate across Asia and internationally, and an ardent supporter of the Banking with the Poor network for over two decades. Viji’s insights and advice were sought after and greatly valued at leading inclusive finance industry forums across the region including the Asian Microfinance Forum, Asia Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit, and as recently as September last year, the Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Forum, an initiative of APEC’s 21 Finance Ministers.
Viji reminded us that financial inclusion is a means to an end, being income and employment generation along with asset creation for the poor. She noted that the poor, like all of us, have aspirations and as a result also require loan and savings products to invest in education and healthcare. With the emergence of fintech and dynamic new digital financial services providers, Viji urged the industry not to forget that small microfinance institutions remain close to the excluded population and are a continuing source of innovative and appropriate need‐based ideas.
Viji provided a moral compass for the microfinance industry and we are thankful for her vision, commitment and achievements. Her endeavour will continue to inspire.