Continuing our Education in Africa
06.07.2009 - 07.08.2009
Amizade equipped us with the knowledge and skills to navigate and understand the world through the eyes of a global citizen. Working with Amizade has made us aware of global issues and how we as young students can take the proper steps towards our future in a world that needs to understand that issues are not one dimensional and that in order to address one issue you must look at the greater picture; for instance, in order to address women's rights you must address issues of water, poverty, and cultural social standing. We understood that once the program was complete that it was imperative to continue our education by meeting with various NGO's that work in the areas we were to be traveling to. What we found was that education never stops, even when we weren't meeting with NGO's we were meeting individuals like us who were traveling with a passion and purpose to understand the areas and issues.
One of the people we met was a gentleman named Giorgio who was the director of "27 Dollars"which is a documentary about Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammed Yunus. Yunus was the creator of the Grameen Bank, the first micro-finance bank. He is a sort of celebrity within the development studies world and we were very excited to meet and discuss micro-finance with Giorgio. Micro-finance loans are small loans which are given to individuals, mostly in developing areas, to help them create small businesses or to be able to put money into their farms and homes. The loans are usually given with very low interest rates and many organizations are more willing to lend to women because they have a higher return rate and are usually more responsible with paying them back. A popular trend in micro-finance is to create small groups in the community and have them be help responsible with in their groups, usually a leader is appointed within the group. Many of the organizations we met with utilized micro-finance as a tool because of its proven success.
There are many organizations that we have come across that deal in micro-finance. Some include:
International Youth Foundation. www.iyf.org
The Hunger Project. www.thp.org
SEWA: Self Employed Women's Association. www.sewabank.com
If you are interested in pursuing information about Micro-finance or are interested in supporting individuals abroad through micro-finance please check out KIVA at www.kiva.org
"We may be poor, but we are so many. Why don't we start a bank of our own ? Our own women's bank, where we are treated with the respect and service that we deserve."
- Chandaben, old clothes seller,Founder - member, SEWA Bank