Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle against World Poverty

Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle against World Poverty

Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle against World Poverty

Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle against World Poverty

Synopsis

Muhammad Yunus has launched one of the most spectacular revolutions in the world of finance and banking, bringing not only economic hope to the rural poor, but a social revolution in how the poor are treated by society. This book tells the story.

Excerpt

In the year 1974 Bangladesh fell into the grip of famine.

The university where I taught and served as head of the Economics Department was located in the southeastern extremity of the country, and at first we did not pay much attention to the newspaper stories of death and starvation in the remote villages of the north. But then skeleton-like people began showing up in the railway stations and bus stations of the capital, Dhaka. Soon this trickle became a flood. Hungry people were everywhere. Often they sat so still that one could not be sure whether they were alive or dead. They all looked alike: men, women, children. Old people looked like children, and children looked like old people.

The government opened gruel kitchens. But every new gruel kitchen ran out of rice. Newspaper reporters tried to warn the nation of the extent of the famine. Research institutions collected statistics on the sources and causes of the sudden migration to the cities. Religious organizations mobilized groups to pick up the dead bodies from the streets and bury them with the proper rites. But soon the simple act of collecting the dead became a larger task then these groups were equipped to handle.

The starving people did not chant any slogans. They did not demand anything from us well-fed city folk. They simply lay down very quietly on our doorsteps and waited to die.

There are many ways for people to die, but somehow dying of starvation is the most unacceptable of all. It happens in slow mo-

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