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Microcredit Helps Poor Women Prosper

May 04, 2002

It was such a pleasant surprise to read Muhammad Yunus and Roshaneh Zafar's April 29 commentary, "Help Poor Women to Help Themselves." Yunus, as too few people know, began the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh 25 years ago with several loans amounting to a total of about $30 (the smallest being $1) to four or five poor women. Today the Grameen Bank lends close to $1 billion annually in amounts averaging $60.

I was honored to shake Mr. Yunus' hand several years ago at a talk he gave in Pasadena. I have never met such a warm and humble man. If creativity of ideas and impact on the world's poorest people are of any consideration to the people who give the Nobel Peace Prize, then Yunus should top the list.

When everyone is looking for ways to reduce threats of terror in this world, to overlook or minimize the ideas that Yunus and, now, quite a few other organizations are putting into practice is inexcusable. If you share the idea that small amounts of money should be made available to poor women, visit www.microcreditsummit.org and take an action, like writing your senator or representative.

Richard D. Robinson

Big Bear City

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What better way to strike a blow at our enemies in Afghanistan than to empower their women to achieve economic independence through small loans for self-employment. Surely some clever budget analyst in the Pentagon can find a way to fund such microcredit programs in the name of our national security.

Eugene J. Heck

Moreno Valley

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