From Bangladesh to the World

February 15, 2010 | 1:18 PM

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Written by Luis Varela...


“Grameen Moves into Mexico with Carlos Slim Foundation” is the title of the press release posted on Thursday October 30, 2008 by microcapital.org. After reading the online article, an inevitable smile popped out of my face. It was exciting to read that the Mexican population will now have the opportunity to break free from that poverty cycle as many others have done it through microfinancing all over the world. Being a Mexican-American, I have seen the extreme poverty that exists and the need for a high-quality lending institution. It is depressing to learn that this developing nation has as its immediate neighbor the wealthiest country in the world and it was about time that a group of conscious people intervened. Mexico needed help and Muhammad Yunus and Mexican magnate Carlos Slim responded. Grameen-Carso, as the alliance is named, follows the Grameen method, which has proven to be extremely successful.

Grameen’s expansion has become a global phenomenon. As I write this blog, the new Grameen-Aval Colombia Corporation is becoming a reality. Grameen Bank in association with Luis Carlos Sarmiento Ángulo Foundation will begin to open branches all over Colombia to promote microcredit and raise the quality of life of many Colombians. Many of the benefitted will be the abundant street vendors who will obtain loans to improve or start their businesses. Trained professionals have arrived from Bangladesh to Colombia to give grounding in the Grameen method starting in Ciudad Bolivar in the Colombian Capital of Bogota. Grameen-Aval Colombia has high expectations with 15,000 credits projected nationwide ranging from 100 to 1,000 dollars in the first stage.

I am not surprised by the rapid growth that the microloan giant is going through, after all, I have experienced firsthand the diligence and dedication that the Grameen Team has towards expansion. After a semester of interning at Grameen America, I have participated in expansion projects such as searching for new branch offices, demographic data analysis, and even designed a project for Grameen America Day, a special day dedicated to celebrate Grameen America’s success. It has been a pleasure to work with such passionate people who are always innovating and creating ways to make microcredits more accessible to all kinds of people. The concept behind this nonprofit institution is inspiring and has become a turning point in many people’s lives, including mine.

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