Muhammad Yunus visited Quinnipiac and presented a lecture to us, “Microcredit and Social Business for Poverty Reduction,” on his life’s work in banking and providing money to the poor. At first I was not thrilled to go, but once the lecture began and I really listened to what he was saying I gained more appreciation for having the opportunity to have him speak.
I was really impressed with his enthusiasm and dedication to his work. Not only had he become aware of the poverty and the difficulty in overcoming it, but he was able to make a small difference just by lending money to some basket weavers just to help them survive. Dr. Yunus showed us that it is possible to improve upon someone’s life with some small effort.
With more effort he was able to establish a bank which gives loans to the poor. He stated that the bank was owned by the poor people, not like the other banks which are owned by the rich.
One point he made was that really stuck to me was the connection to people as seeds. When you plant a seed, you expect it to grow, but when it does not grow it is not the seed, it is the means you give it. If you do not allow it to grow it cannot grow, like the poor people who are not given the opportunity to grow. Without the finances to get themselves going, it becomes nearly impossible for the poor to take that money and expand on it.
One of our goals for this trip to South Africa is to provide the South African people with the means to grow. In my specific project of building a vegetable garden at the Vaatjie school we intend the vegetable garden to allow them to grow and continue it long after we have left. I also have been planning to provide them with some medical health care teaching and use that to further their own knowledge and protect themselves from deterrents from their growth as people.