On March 6, Quinnipiac had the pleasure of hearing Muhammad Yunus speak to the University. He was the Nobel Peace Prize recipient in 2006 for his work in Bangladesh, and development of microfinance and microcredit. He explained that this concept “never existed in my mind”. He decided to return to Bangladesh after their civil war was over. It was then that he saw the country, and wanted to help. He described the situation as a “euphoria that you have a country of your own”, but that “dreams turn into nightmares, because the economy slid down fast.” It was then that he visited, and noticed that some of the people were “skeleton like” and about to die. He decided to help one village,and lend the citizens the money that they were in debt.
Between the whole village, their debt was $27. “For $27, you become an angel,” Yunus said.
He said the people were so happy and grateful that he did that, so he continued to help. This way, they were not borrowing from loan sharks, which were unfair to the people, leaving them even more in debt. From this initial donation, he built up and connected a bank to the people of Bangladesh. Then, in 1983, he got the Government’s permission to start up his own bank. This bank was owned by the poor, not the rich. It has lent $1.5million dollars, with a 97% repayment rate. This is incredibly successful, and rewarded to the people in these villages. In addition to this success, Yunus never kept a penny for himself.
I feel incredibly honored that I got to hear Muhammed Yunus speak. He was an inspiration, and really developed an idea that has changed the world. From starting in Bangladesh, he has
also helped other countries, such as Haiti. I feel that this speech was beneficial when thinking about South Africa as well.
We need to take into consideration the differences that American societies have in comparison to South African societies. He explained how he wasn’t selfless because everyone has a self, however he is extremely selfless because he put everyone in front of him. I feel that he is a role model to keep in mind in South Africa.