Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The new Yunus Centre in Thailand

The new Yunus Centre at the Asian Institute of Technology will be a school that will experiment with ways of ending poverty. Nobel Piece Prize winner Muhammad Yunus has established the school in Thailand to help develop his ideas on non-profit/non-loss businesses that help the poor.

From Channel News Asia, reporter Anasuya Sanyal gives us more details on the new school.

In developing countries in Asia, 690 million people live off less than US$1 a day, and many earn their meagre living by subsistence farming. But the global economic crisis and volatile prices of staple foods have made it all the more difficult. Yet there is much that can be done.

Microcredit pioneer, Professor Yunus, who is also the founder of Grameen Foundation, maintains that targeted and sustainable assistance can be a vital key to lifting people out of poverty.

He said: "The whole idea of the Yunus Centre is to bring the ideas and the concepts that I have been promoting and the imagination of creating a new kind of world. The one description of the world I want to see is a world where nobody will be a poor person - because there is no reason why anybody, anywhere in the world, should go through the misery and indignity of being a poor person."

At the Yunus Centre at AIT, scholars will be able to research ways to improve the lives of the poor and apply what they have learnt in those communities.

A precursor to the new centre is a project which aims to train mid-level government officials in development issues. And in Laos, this approach has proved effective.


Patrick Hennessy said...

This is excellent news. The main challenge facing subsistence farmers in Thailand is lack of access to micro-finance and the consequent exploitation of millions by loan sharks charging exorbitant interest rates.

I hope the AIT will work with good local and international NGO's and other bodies to translate the grameen philosophy into practise in poor villages in Thailand.

Patrick Hennessy
Retired UN Official living in Thailand

sonia said...

great news, and good luck to you...
I just come from Bangladesh, and after have spent one month working in Yunus Centre, I come back in France more convinced than never, that Social Business is a precious key to solve many of the crucial issues of that XXI century, and not only in emerging countries !

Brandon Garren said...

I spent much of my summer in Thailand this year as a student working with Habitat for Humanity and saw firsthand the effects of poverty and homelessness there. It was genuinely heartwrenching to witness the state of rural Thailand and its desperate inhabitants trying to scrape by on subsistence farming and income. I think the Yunus Centre is a tremendous development and would love to receive some more information on how to help out.