Sunday, October 15, 2006

Thoughts on "A Hand Up Doesn't Always Require a Handout" by Muhammad Yunus
(In Wall Street Journal 14 October 2006)

Microfinance, providing small loans to people in need, is clearly a better path than providing a handout. As Mr. Yunus suggests:

"... giving someone a hand up doesn't always require a handout. The most important thing is to help people get back to work while letting them hold on to their self-respect. Microloans can do just that."

I absolutely agree with this concept, it is a way for people to retain (or get back) their self-esteem while improving their lifestyle. If I ever get involved in establishing a foundation (which I would like to do someday), the concept that the Grameen bank espouses is one that makes sense to me.

One other excerpt:

"Microfinance is one of the biggest success stories of the developing world, and proponents like me believe it could be just as successful in helping the poor in wealthy countries such as the U.S. The basic philosophy behind microfinance is that the poor, although spurned by traditional banks because they can't provide collateral, are actually a great investment: No one works harder than someone who is striving to achieve life's basic necessities, particularly a woman with children to support. Sadly, it is also true that in catastrophic circumstances, very little of the cash so generously given ever gets all the way down to the very poor. There are too many "professionals" ahead of them in line, highly skilled at diverting funds into their own pockets. This is particularly regrettable because very poor people need only a little money to set up a business that can make a dramatic difference in the quality of their lives."

URL for this article:

and here is a link on info about the Grameen Bank

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