I read this somewhere and thought of sharing it with you-
A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day & said ‘Lord, I would like to know what Heaven & Hell are like.’ The Lord led the holy man to two doors. He opened one of the doors & the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious & made the holy man’s mouth water.
The people sitting around the table were thin & sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms & each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew & take a spoonful. But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery & suffering. The Lord said, ‘You have seen Hell.’ They went to the next room & opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one.
There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished & plump, laughing & talking. The holy man said, ‘I don’t understand.’ ‘It is simple,’ said the Lord. ‘It requires but one skill. You see, they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves.’
While reading about the Gramin bank I was really amazed to know how simply and effectively they ran it. The promoter of the bank won the noble prize this year allong with the bank and they truly deserved it(remember Gandhi was nominated more than once and was denied because of political reasons. This year they actually confessed it).
This bank has flourished in Bangladesh despite the fact that most presitigious banks refused to even consider it beacause they thought it was impractical.Mohammad younus was explaining this venture on CNN this morning. He approached the beggars and told them that instead of working hard begging door to door, they could carry small household goods to sell and earn more money with the same amount of effort.He provided them loans of less than 50 dollars to do so. As a result, many of them stopped begging and are now running small businesses.
Women are prefered over men when it comes to loan disbursement because he believes women know how to run a house in their meagre resourses and can run their businesses more efficiently with very little money in their hands.Sometimes they were even lent a goat kid.Reasoning was simple- every goat has 2-3 kids, they lent a kid to a woman who takes care of it and when this kid turns into a goat and has kids, she returns her loan .
When Bangladesh suffered the worst floods of recent times they gave loans in the form of flour, medicines, and whatever else was required. None of this was charity. The loans were on a long term basis. All the loans were recovered and they helped people. Their recovery rate is more than 90% and that is why the bank is growing from strength to strength.
I am writing this post because I think this is a very effective way of doing charity.People don’t get used to free money they know they have to return it.It’s like the saying if you feed a hungry man you feed him for a day but if you teach him how to fish he will never go hungry.I hope more people are inspired by it and help to make people self reliant instead of making them dependant in the name of charity.