Friday, October 19, 2012

Muhammad Yunus brings microcredit to Scotland

Muhammad Yunus is one of this blogger's biggest heroes. But it has been a while since we have linked to any news about him... so lets put a stop to that right now.

Yunus is in Scotland this week to begin a new school at Caledonian University to study poverty fighting efforts. This will coincide with the launch of a new Grammen Bank branch in Glasgow. Yunus' Grammen Bank is spreading its microcredit efforts throughout the developed world. Still, there is some debate on whether it would work in richer nations.

BBC reporter Gillian Sharpe takes a look at the new branch of Grammen Bank.

In her corner office, Glasgow Caledonian University Principal Prof Pamela Gillies is explaining how she sees the possibilities offered by the bank.
"I think this is going to be one of the biggest public health interventions in Scotland since the banning of smoking in public places," she says.
"It is an idea that crosses cultures and economic boundaries and gives control and responsibility for the health and well-being of their everyday lives back to the poorest people in society."

There's a transformation of another kind taking place in the Provanmill area of Glasgow.
At three or four tables people have come to a lunch club run by local women. There is lentil soup, as well as a roll and sausage on offer, a chance to chat and a couple of games of bingo - all for a couple of pounds.
The women - all volunteers - who run this place are part of a self-reliance group facilitated by the Church of Scotland.
Each member contributes a small amount of money each week which goes to buy ingredients for the following week.
One of those involved is Jake Crawley, whose dream is to set up her own laundry and create herself a job.
The ultimate aim of this project is to help her do that - there are potential premises in the church where the lunch club is run.
Since they set up about 18 months ago, the women have driven the lunch club forward by their own efforts.
Now they are getting together costings with a view to setting up the laundry as a business.
For that they will need some kind of micro loan and Ms Crawley says she will need help to ease her off benefits and hopefully into her own business.
"Myself, I would rather move on," she comments. "Get our laundry set up and I create myself a job, because that's what I want to do - not because a job centre or work programme is forcing me to do jobs."

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