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India has 400 million poor people, more than any other country in the world. These poor live on the brink of subsistence. To cope with their vulnerability, the poor often take small loans, during crisis periods, from money lenders who charge exploitative rates of interest. Interest rates can run as high as 72% per year, placing the poor in a debt trap. This debt trap, in turn, often results in the poor mortgaging themselves or their children in bonded labor--a system of indentured servitude in which a person "sells" his or her labor for a year in exchange for a loan.

If poor people are given access to low interest loans during times of crisis, they can avoid falling into such a debt trap. However, bureaucracy and corruption in the banking and government sectors prevent the poor from gaining access to affordable credit. SKS attempts to address this problem by bringing microfinance to the doorstep of the poor, thus SKS seeks to alleviate poverty through the provision of small, affordable loans for emergency needs, income generating activities, and more.

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