Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Can we make a difference?

  1. #1

    Default Can we make a difference?

    I have been sitting here debating with myself about where to put this thread. Even though it probably belongs on the political/ religious forum I would rather it did not become the starting point for a left vs right diatribe.

    Can we make a difference?

    Thirty years ago a man in Bagdadesh, Dr Muhammad Yunus, took some students on a field trip to a small village. While he was there he met a woman who made bamboo chairs for a living. She had to borrow money to buy the bamboo to make the chairs at 10% interest and after repaying the loan each time she had almost nothing left for her labor. Dr Yunus took a small amount of his own money and made a loan to this woman and 40 other chair makers in that village. This one small loan became the catalyst for one of the most remarkable stories of our time. This was the first micro-loan. These are small loans made to impovished people to help them make better lives for themselves and their loved ones. Since that time Dr. Yunus founded the Grameen Bank (village bank) and has made over 6 million such loans to impoverished people living in some of the poorest countries in the world. The repayment rate on these loans is over 98%, a number that any commerical bank would be envious of. If you figuire in the families of these people you are looking at tens of millions that have pulled themselves out of poverety. If you look at the ripple effect of the money now earned and spent in these poor villages and regions the number of people that are seeing some improvement in their lives could reach the hundreads of millions. In 2006, Dr Yunus and Grameen Bank were awarded the Noble Peace prize for their work. These two sites give a lot more information on this amazing man and his vision.
    http://muhammadyunus.org/content/view/47/69/lang,en/

    http://www.grameen-info.org/

    We are blessed to live in a country that has so much wealth and opportunity. As a nation and as individuals we contribute so much but for some reason we are not getting the desired results of our giving. What needs to change?
    Every human has the desire to provide for the basic needs for themselves and their families. Sadly billion are unable to achieve that. When as a country year after year we give billions upon billions of dollars worldwide to help those in need we hope to see major positive changes. It isn't happening. When we give as individuals we are getting the same sorry results. It is great to feed the hungry but it is better to give them the help to let them grow their own food and be able to earn the money to buy what they can not grow. It is wonderful to immunize millions but if they were able to earn they could pay for those shots and some basic health care. When a village has nothing it can provide nothing to its people. This holds true for regions and countries. No one wants hand outs to be their life line. Every human wants a sense of worth that only comes by standing on ones two feet. What good is sponsering a child if there is no hope for a job when they finish school? If the family prospers then so to does the village then the region then the country. Give them hope and you give them back their pride and self respect. You have helped them to achieve the American Dream with no strings attached.

    We can make a difference. In the time it takes you to watch your favorite tv show you can e-mail every house and senate member with a simple request that they start to make a difference. In the next foreign aid bill divert a few billion toward microloan programs. With a 98% repayment rate it is a gift from America that will keep giving over and over. Let millions and one day billions lift themselves out of poverty and one day you will find worldwide extreamism start to die out. As individuals we can do this same type of giving if we choose to. Ocianain on the other forum gave out a link that shows how to do it so I will share it with you here.
    http://www.kiva.org/
    I am not trying to tell anyone how to give or what they should or should not do. I got interested in this after reading about it when the '06 Noble Peace Prize was awarded. I have been reading as much as I can on the subject since then and I am just blown away by the prospect that world wide poverty can be wiped out in such a simple manner. I look foward to any feedback on this subject. For me it is a case of "am I missing something here?"

  2. #2
    Olympic Champ RYou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    8,376

    Default Re: Can we make a difference?

    Nice and honorable idea, but expensive to administer on such a small scale. Besides, the US already doles out in excess of of $30 billion in foreign aid aside from what the US government provides to underdeveloped couintries.
    [LIST][*]International giving by US foundations: $1.5 billion per year[*]Charitable giving by US businesses: $2.8 billion annually[*]American NGOs: $6.6 billion in grants, goods and volunteers.[*]Religious overseas ministries: $3.4 billion, including health care, literacy training, relief and development.[*]US colleges scholarships to foreign students: $1.3 billion[*]Personal remittances from the US to developing countries: $18 billion in 2000
    Source: Dr. Carol Adelman, Aid and Comfort, Tech Central Station, 21 August 2002.

    Read here to find out more about charitable giving from individuals in the US.

    http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRel...hartsandGraphs

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can we make a difference?

    It is a fantastic idea, and I think that there are always more efficient ways to give. If it's possible to give to a good microloan group, do it. Ryou, I don't think it's about giving more money, it's about giving more efficiently, and to the right people. As a fundraiser myself, I think that you should always thoroughly check out a group before you write your check. Find out how much money goes to administrative and fundraising costs. If it is over 25%, it's too much. Also, when you decide on a cause, let's say cancer, figure out what you want your money to do. Is it research? Is it comforting already sick patients? Is it prevention education? Sure it's great to just give the money to the American Cancer Society (they're a fantastic group and I raised $600 for them this year) but it's your money. Make sure it helps who you want it to help.

    And to answer the question asked in the subject: I firmly believe that we can and do make a difference every day. Just make sure it's a positive difference.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can we make a difference?

    hardcore, reading your title immediately made me think of the old story about making a difference. As the story goes a man was walking along a beach one day and off in the distance he could see a person running along the edge of the surf. As he got closer to the person he saw the beach was covered with thousands of starfish stranded by the tide. The person he'd been watching was running around the beach picking up one starfish at a time and throwing it back into the ocean. An apparent futile deed because there were so many.

    The man seeing the silly effort approached the person saying, "Are you crazy? There are thousands of starfish on this beach, you can't make a difference!"

    To which the person paused momentarily and studied the man. The person then reached down picked up another starfish and tossed it into the surf then turned to the man and said, "I made a difference to that one."

    Bluestater said it well, I think. We can make a difference, so make it a good one. There are limits to everything: hours in a day and seconds in our life. It's all about priorities and how one decides to spend those moments: good or bad. Even no attempt to make a difference is a difference because it was an opportunity missed to do good somewhere big or small.

  5. #5
    Olympic Champ RYou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    8,376

    Default Re: Can we make a difference?

    Maybe "making a difference" should be consider domesticallybefore handing everything over to individuals that have a good opportunity to misuse the money. An open hand program like this is no different than when the US initially entered Somilia as the good will arm of the UN handing free food out to the starving. While many were handed sacks of various food, the Somoli warloads were just around the corner taking it from them. How would this be any different ? That kind of crime is rempant and not just in the Africa and the Middle east, it across every disadvantaged country and some not disadvantaged. To assure the intended parties receive and keep what is given for the intent is was givian will be a very expensive program to administer.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can we make a difference?

    Thanks for your thoughful replies. Bluestater summed up my point beautifuly. It is not about giving more but more efficiently and to the right people.
    Ryou, I am not advocating any great new spending programs nor am I questioning the generosity of the American people. I just do not think that our government aid programs are having the desired effect. Poverty is on the rise worldwide and the social, economic, and political fallout from this problem is taking a toll on everyone. I am not saying that we should have a war on povertythat would just become another massive yearly drain on our national treasury. What I am suggesting is to provide a one time infusion of seed money to Grameen Bank to start up new microloan programs in ten countries that have a severe poverty problem. Say 100 million per start up given with no strings attached except that Mexico be one of the start up projects. No government involment or officials involved. A one shot diversion of foreign aid money. Sit back and see if it works. If after a couple of years it starts producing positive results then make new seed money available for new projects. If it doesn't work then at least we tried something new that showed promise. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    pm01, thanks for that story. One starfish at a time.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •