Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Book You Should Read

My latest book recommendation came to me from Matt. At Christmastime, or maybe it was Thanksgiving time - we were talking about possible subjects for future Lee & Low multicultural books. And Matt brought up Muhammad Yunus, who I had not heard of before. Turns out he's a Nobel Prize recipient for his work to break the poverty cycle for good. This is from the back cover copy of "Banker to the Poor: Microlending and the Battle Against World Poverty":

In 1983 Muhammad Yunus established Grameen, a bank devoted to providing the poorest of Bangladesh with miniscule loans. He aimed to help the poor by supporting the spark of personal initiative and enterprise by which they could lift themselves out of poverty forever. It was an idea born on a day in 1976 when he loaned $27 from his own pocket to forty-two stool makers living in a tiny village. These women only needed enough credit to purchase the raw materials for their trade. Yunus's small loan helped them break their cycle of poverty for good. His solution to world poverty, founded on the belief that credit is a fundamental human right, is brilliantly simple: loan poor people money on terms that are suitable to them, teach them a few dound financial principles, and they will help themselves. Yunus's theories work. Grameen bank has provided 3.8 billion dollars to 2.4 million families in rural Bangladesh."

This guy's fascinating obviously, and it's really interesting to learn that it's not as hard as we may think to break the poverty cycle. Check it out.


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