Banker To The Poor by Muhammad Yunus

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The other day I gave a lift to two kids who were walking to school. I was very saddened by the distance they had to cover walking to and from school. I could see that they were wearing worn out school clothes but they were not that much worried about that.

Poverty strips you of your dignity.

This reminded me of an impactful book I read couple of years ago. In his book: Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty, Prof Muhammad Yunus makes the following observations about poverty:

– “When we want to help the poor, we usually offer them charity. Most often we use charity to avoid recognizing the problem and finding the solution for it. Charity becomes a way to shrug off our responsibility. But charity is no solution to poverty. Charity only perpetuates poverty by taking the initiative away from the poor. Charity allows us to go ahead with our own lives without worrying about the lives of the poor. Charity appeases our consciences.” ― Muhammad YunusBanker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

 

– “If you go out into the real world, you cannot miss seeing that the poor are poor not because they are untrained or illiterate but because they cannot retain the returns of their labor. They have no control over capital, and it is the ability to control capital that gives people the power to rise out of poverty.” ― Muhammad YunusBanker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

– “People.. were poor not because they were stupid or lazy. They worked all day long, doing complex physical tasks. They were poor because the financial institution in the country did not help them widen their economic base.” ― Muhammad YunusBanker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

– “I believe that we can create a poverty-free world because poverty is not created by poor people. It has been created and sustained by the economic and social systems that we have designed for ourselves; the institutions and concepts that make up that system; the policies that we pursue.” ― Muhammad YunusCreating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism

– “When a destitute mother starts earning an income, her dreams of success invariably center around her children. A woman’s second priority is the household. She wants to buy utensils, build a stronger roof, or find a bed for herself and her family. A man has an entirely different set of priorities. When a destitute father earns extra income, he focuses more attention on himself. Thus money entering a household through a woman brings more benefits to the family as a whole.” ― Muhammad YunusBanker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

– “The fact that the poor are alive is clear proof of their ability.” ― Muhammad YunusBanker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

– “Even today we don’t pay serious attention to the issue of poverty, because the powerful remain relatively untouched by it. Most people distance themselves from the issue by saying that if the poor worked harder, they wouldn’t be poor.” ― Muhammad YunusBanker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

– “Poverty does not belong in civilized human society. Its proper place is in a museum. That’s where it will be.” ― Muhammad YunusBanker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

– “We prepare our students for jobs and careers, but we don’t teach them to think as individuals about what kind of world they would create.” ― Muhammad YunusCreating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism

– “I’m encouraging young people to become social business entrepreneurs and contribute to the world, rather than just making money. Making money is no fun. Contributing to and changing the world is a lot more fun.” ― Muhammad YunusCreating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism

– “Like navigation markings in unknown waters, definitions of poverty need to be distinctive and unambiguous. A definition that is not precise is as bad as no definition at all.” ― Muhammad YunusBanker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

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