I was home with my sick daughter yesterday and actually had some time to finish Banker To The Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty, by Muhammad Yunus. This is a fascinating look at the “true” poor in Bangladesh and how a professor of Economics, changed the world of lending one small village at a time by creating Grameen Bank.
The concept is simple. Small loans, as little as $27, are provided to the poor so they can create small businesses. This enables the poor to help themselves by generating income for food, education, etc. In addition to being able to raise themselves above the poverty line, the members of the community that choose to become members of Grameen also find that there is a vast improvement within their villages in the way of support and social responsibility once people begin to understand the value of “self worth”.
The second half of the book discusses programs within the U.S. and the mindset that the poor will never help themselves as long as there are active welfare programs that support them.
I found this section especially interesting.
Check it out.