Hearing Dr. Muhammad Yunus Speak in Queens, New York
This unfortunately grainy photo was taken while Dr. Yunus spoke about microfinance on Saturday, April 18, 2009
Ever since I read about Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank in 2007 I have been absolutely enthralled with the concept of empowering people to help themselves through access affordable, small loans. After all, my masters thesis deals with green microfinance, and during my time at Brown I have co-founded The Capital Good Fund, a non-profit microfinance institution. So when I heard that Dr. Yunus would be speaking at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, I knew that I could not pass up the opportunity to go.
I went with two other Capital Good Fund staff members, Nabeel and Faiz. We met at 8:30 in the morning at Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, and caught a bus to New York City. From there, we took the subway and a bus to get to St. John’s. Outside of their basketball stadium, a market had been set up where Grameen America’s borrowers were selling their wares–food, purses, jewelry, etc. Grameen America was founded in 2008 by Muhammad Yunus, and is being run by senior executives of Grameen Bank. In their first year of operation, they made 650 loans totalling $1.5 million dollars, with a repayment rate of over 99%.