Poor women in Bangladesh are at risk of losing access to loans that have helped them lift themselves out of poverty.
Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning professor, pioneered the use of "micro-loans" to the poor, especially women, in his native Bangladesh in the late ‘70s. Inspired by this experience, he then founded Grameen Bank to provide tiny loans to the poor, so they could start or expand small businesses and work themselves and their families out of poverty. While Prof. Yunus was forced to resign in May due to partisan political battles, his work helping the world’s poorest people goes on through the Bank’s work.
But right now the Bangladeshi government is drafting new regulations that could allow it to take control of Grameen Bank, pushing poor women out of their majority ownership. With the government at the helm, the Bank and its borrowers could be subject to the whims of politics, threatening the very core of what made this poverty-fighting organization great.
A government takeover could threaten the progress made by Grameen Bank and the work of Prof. Yunus to end poverty. You can make a difference by putting international pressure on the government of Bangladesh to stop these regulations from being enacted.
Please sign this letter supporting an independent Grameen Bank, and we will deliver it to H.E. Akramul Qader, the Bangladeshi government’s Ambassador to the U.S.
- Bangladeshi Ambassador to US, H.E. Akramul Qader
I join the international community – including American leaders and citizens – in speaking out for an independent Grameen Bank. Though Professor Muhammad Yunus was pressured to resign from his position as Managing Director, the Bank should remain free to continue its innovative poverty-fighting work without interference from the government of Bangladesh. I believe that the Bank’s approach and values embody one of the best ways to create a world without poverty.
By standing up for the continued independence of Grameen Bank, I stand with the millions of poor women and families in Bangladesh who own the Bank and deserve to retain their majority shares and position on the Board of Directors, no matter what their social position. Their rights and the poverty-fighting work of the Bank are more important than the sudden need for additional government oversight of an institution that has operated independently, abiding by all government regulations, for almost 30 years.
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