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Nobel Peace Prize Winner - if you haven't read about him, you MUST

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive October 2006: Nobel Peace Prize Winner - if you haven't read about him, you MUST
By Ginny~moderator on Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 04:30 am:

Here's an article from BusinessWeek (definitely not a lefty-liberal rag) Nobel Peace Prize

Muhammad Yunus, with a Ph.D. in economics, runs the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. The program for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize is "microcredit", making loans of up to $1,000 to poor people, at reasonable and affordable interest rates, so that they have the capital to become entrepeneurs. Amazingly, in making loans totaling around $5.7 billion to over 6.1 million borrowers (97% women), the bank has experienced a default rate of around only 1%.

Dr. Yunus believes that the way to build peace is to help people get out of poverty.

It is a remarkable story, and will certainly be a boon to the microcredit movement. I urge you to read the story.

By Pamt on Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 10:49 am:

That's awesome. DH and I have been to Nicaragua several times now and we want to do some life-changing for the hundreds of families who live IN and around the city dump. They live on nothing, the kids don't go to school and spend the day scavenging the dump, they are exposed to all sorts of disease, and it is an endless repetitve cycle. We've looked into some entrepreneurial ideas like teaching them to make and sell shoes from used tires and last August when DH was there he sat next to a guy going there on an Agros project. Agros is all about microloans and setting up little communities. They give loans so that people can build a little house and start a business and then they pay it back. The biggest thing though is that they give land--to build, to farm, etc. The community is named, has a school (bringing literacy into the picture is a BIG deal), a governing structure, rudimentary healthcare, etc. It's incredible how it all works and it is changing lives. It really is possible to change the world one person at a time. Hurray for Muhammad Yunus!!!

Ginny, do you know about Sojourners magazine and email. I think you would really like it! We don't get the magazine, but we do get the email. It is a Christian organization that is big on social justice, they are pretty "lefty-liberal" as you say, and they are involved in some big life-changing stuff. DH and I were just talking about Sojo last night--unfortunately we think the pendulum has swung too far to the left and they have become to the Christian liberals what the Religious Right has become when they used to be a little more leaning to the left but really making you think about the issues. It is very provacative and always challenges us.

By Ginny~moderator on Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 02:57 pm:

I used to read Sojourners regularly when I was working at an interfaith organization - as you know quite well, I am definitely lefty-liberal. I think the Sojourners are generally good folk. Thanks for the link - I will add them to my internet reading.

Yes, we lefty-liberals are challenging. But then, just like the unexamined life, I think an unexamined faith is not worth having. It's the struggle that roots faith and makes it a part of one's being.

Clearly, Dr. Yunus was challenged to think about and rethink his approach to banking, and came out with - literally - a real winner.

I've read more about the details of his program and other micro-loan programs, and here are some links:

Brigham Young University

Newsweek

NYTimes - which provides some details:

"Grameen lent to groups of five people, who helped ensure that each member repaid his or her share. It lent not only to farmers, but also to laborers and women who had a knack for crafts and shopkeeping. And it required borrowers to repay their loans in manageable, bite-sized weekly installments."
and
quoting Dr. Yunus, in a speech at an international gathering of "do gooders" last month:
“All we are doing is telling beggars that, well, since you go house to house begging, would you like to take some merchandise with you, some cookies, some candy, something?” he asked a crowd that hooted with delight at this clever notion.
“A typical loan for a beggar is something like $12,” he said. “With $12, she has a basket of merchandise she carries around and goes house to house.”
“Today, we have more than 80,000 beggars in the program,” he said. “Many of them have already quit begging completely.”


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