Monday, January 29, 2007

Banker to the Poor
by Muhammad Yunas

Have you heard of Mr. Yunas? He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work in establishing Grameen Bank, the first bank to arrange micro-credit (loans usually less than $300) to the poor. This model of banking has since spread around the world to alleviate poverty and create a self-sustaining model of independence.

The book is the story of his life and Grameen Bank. He writes in a casual, conversational style that is easy to read.

After a visit to a local village in the 1970s, when he lent $27 to a poor woman so she could end the cycle of dependence on moneylenders and lift herself out of poverty, he was inspired to found Grameen Bank

He paid attention to the poor around him. And he paid attention to what it would take to make them self-sufficient (not dependent on charity).

It fascinated me that paying attention and being resourceful can wreak such a wonderful outcome (btw, why do we usually only say "wreak havoc"? we should start saying "wreak joy/life/beauty").

Isn't that an attribute of all great entrepreneurs and innovators--that they are paying attention at the right moment? In Farsi, "paying attention" translates to "well-gathered thoughts". What do you need to pay attention to?

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