A documentary about Dr. Muhammad Yunus’ experiment in “micro-lending” in the United States will screen on Thursday, March 31 at a number of theaters around the country.
Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist and Nobel laureate, created the Grameen Bank to make financing available to people who do not have access to the traditional banking system. It now operates in 38 countries — including ours.
What could micro-lending do for you? Well, it might just give you the boost you need to work your way to financial independence.
“To Catch A Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America” follows two women as they struggle to realize their dreams of opening a catering company and expanding an existing hair-care business.
In the Jackson Heights area of New York, Grameen worked with 500 potential female clients, putting them into small groups and giving loans of up to $3,000 for the ideas they developed.
Just as in Bangladesh, the groups act as their own loan committees – and not only are they required to make weekly payments, they must also contribute to savings accounts. Within a year the Jackson Heights office had loaned more than $1.5 million.
‘Poor people will remain poor’
As Yunus notes in the trailer, the established banking system works on a model of “the more you have, the more you get.”
“Poor people will remain poor for all time if you don’t help them to get out,” he says.
Grameen now lends $1 billion a year worldwide.
The screening will be accompanied by a discussion with Dr. Yunus and guests including Suze Orman and Premal Shah of Kiva.org. Dropping in via video will be Matt Damon, Hugh Jackman, Russell Simmons and others.
To find out whether the film is playing in your area, go to www.tocatchadollar.com and click on “find a theater.”