Monday, January 08, 2007

More Inspirational Human Stories

Dr. Muhammad Yunus, (DOB June 28, 1940), was the third born of 14 children in Bangladesh. As a banker and economist, he developed of the concept of microcredit, the extension of small loans to entrepreneurs, too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans.

He first got involved fighting poverty during the Bangladesh 1974 famine. He discovered that very small loans could make a disproportionate difference to a poor person. His first loan consisted of $27 US from his own pocket, to a women who made bamboo furniture. Traditional banks had not been interested in offering her such a tiny loan. However, he found that by loaning her money, with a very reasonable interest rate, she was able to finance her entire family. His revolutionary discovery was that by loaning money, rather than just giving money, he discovered the cycle of poverty could be broken.

In 1976, Yunus founded the Grameen Bank (Grameen means "of rural area", "of village") to offer loans to poor Bangladeshis. To ensure repayment, the bank uses a system of "solidarity groups", where small informal groups apply together for loans, and its members act as co-guarantors. As it has grown, the Grameen Bank has also developed other systems of alternate credit that serve the poor. In addition to microcredit, it offers education loans, housing loans, financing for fisheries and irrigation projects, venture capital, textiles, and other activities, along with the other banking services, such as savings. In 2006, he and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, "for their efforts to create economic and social development." The Grameen model of micro financing has been so inspiring that it has been emulated in 23 countries.

Quotes from Dr Muhammad Yunus
"I was teaching…and feeling helpless. I teach beautiful theories of economics, and people are going hungry," he said. "Forget about those theories. I'm a human being, I can go and touch another person's life.'"
He advocates that by fixing poverty, you are also attacking a root cause of terrorism:
“We must address the root causes of terrorism to end it for all time, I believe putting resources into improving the lives of poor people is a better strategy than spending it on guns.”


Unknown said...

Happy New Year,
Can you fix me please?

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Michelle,
Did you happen to see BBC2 last night 09.00-10.00 pm
The Trouble with the nhs.

Gerry Anderson is sent to Rotheram nhs hospital one of the best performing hospitals in the uk.
He tries to address 'revenues' & 'performance' waiting lists
Since Surgery & orthopaedics is the 'cash cow' of the nhs.
He is comfronted with 10 fully equipped theatres which are empty most of the time.

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

I am going to blog about the programme later today. I did see the second half of it after work. I am always encouraged to see anyone trying to do something positive for the NHS - good on Gerry Anderson.