Giving back to help others is not only a founding belief of my work, I constantly seek people who put this belief into action.
Back in 2007, we helped organize a presentation by Muhammad Yunus which to this day stirs my belief in the power of people to enact change by simple actions. So many people I know in the U.S. write this off as something that might work in smaller countries, but not here.
Hopefully we’ll see something different, as http://www.tocatchadollar.com/ the film To Catch a Dollar premieres to show recent efforts to use microfinance in this country.
You likely know Muhammad from his work in Bangladesh, where as he outlines in this video, he began with $27 loans to poor women in his country. Previously these women were getting money from usurious loan sharks, and he stepped in and accepted responsibility.
His initial success inspired him to move outside the ivory tower of education and into the banking sector, who looked upon him as altruistic, and were reluctant to loan money to poor women (which is his primary focus, because by empowering them with small loans, powerful changes were created, and the loans were paid back).
So he became the guarantor of the loans, and 30 years later, the rest is history. One person taking an action, doing something that the institutions said couldn’t be done, and in fact it would not have happened if he didn’t take the financial responsibility.
Because social activism is often seen as getting people to donate money to a worthy cause, and in some cases it takes someone to go beyond that idea, and to actually back the cause with in this case, his own reputation and you might even say power as a person who could get a bank loan.
Now the results are spreading to the US, and I hope you get a chance to see the movie, and spread the word.
Remember in these hard times, that a little help can go a long way, and in a country that once prided itself on doing amazing things, like landing on the moon, can we do the most amazing thing possible, and empower poor people to take the next step?
I know the answer is yes, and like Yunus, I know that people can change their worlds if given the opportunity, and the belief. Truly one action can change the world…