Reeta Roy is president and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation, a private, independent foundation based in Toronto. Its global mandate is to enable people living in poverty, particularly youth, to improve their lives—and the lives of their families and communities—by expanding their access to microfinance and education.

Is microfinance really helping the extremely poor—or saddling them with debt they can't repay? Amid growing controversy, Reeta Roy explains how the practice can "graduate" women in Haiti from hunger and homelessness to stability.