Beggars Into Businessmen
March 30, 2004 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Turning Bangladesh's Beggars Into Businessmen. One of Bangladesh's leading micro-credit groups has launched an initiative to lend money to beggars at easy repayment rates, to wean them off the streets and into small scale ventures.
posted by tranquileye (10 comments total)
I love stories like this. Great post.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:05 PM on March 30, 2004

posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 7:47 PM on March 30, 2004

[this is good.]
posted by zpousman at 7:49 PM on March 30, 2004

The Grameen Bank is an extraordinary institution that probably does more unequivocal good than a lot of aid organizations do put together. Take a look at the principles, or decisions, that they ask their customers to make. A clear understanding of the causes of poverty and some of their worst social ills. Note number 11, for example.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:52 PM on March 30, 2004

Very cool. Here's an article on a microcredit/literacy project in India.
posted by homunculus at 8:23 PM on March 30, 2004

"in all walks of out lives..." unless we're proofreading.
posted by greensweater at 8:23 PM on March 30, 2004

Here's an article from the Atlantic (1995) with more detail on how it all works. An excerpt:

She will not be required to put up collateral; instead she must join a five-member group and a forty-member center and attend a meeting every week, and she must assume responsibility for the loans of her group's members. This is crucial, because it is the group--not the bank--that initially evaluates loan proposals. Defaulters spoil things for everybody else, so group members choose their partners wisely. If all five repay their loans promptly, each is guaranteed access to credit for the rest of her life--or as long as she elects to remain a customer. In this fashion Grameen is faithful to the Latin from which "credit" derives: credere --"to believe."

posted by vacapinta at 8:29 PM on March 30, 2004

And this easy reference should help you convert crore to rupees to dollars quickly and easily.
posted by greensweater at 8:33 PM on March 30, 2004

Great post, tranquileye - thanks! It's quite inspiring stuff. It is also quite an eye opener to learn how many people live on amount per day that is less than I spend for coffee.

Of the world's six billion people, 2.8 billion live on less than $2 a day and 1.2 billion on less than $1 a day.

This prior mefi thread on microcredit has additional links and resources for anyone interested in the topic.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:20 PM on March 30, 2004

I saw Mohammad Yunus speak at Berkeley two years ago -- he is a passionate and inspiring man.

I remember him being challenged by a student in the audience on his policy of offering microloans almost exclusively to women (95% by George_Spiggott's link) -- the implication (I think) was that as his programs help lift more and more Bangladeshi families from poverty, this policy might lead to a new gender inequality that increasingly marginalizes poor Bangladeshi men. I know very little about Bangladesh, so I still wonder if his distrust of poor fathers in that society reflects an informed pragmatism or a prejudice that, coupled with the significant impact of the program, may have unintended negative social consequences.
posted by eddydamascene at 1:38 AM on March 31, 2004

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