Posted by Ashram News Reporter on April 27, 2007



PVAF mandate is to give humanity access to knowledge. Knowledge comes from education. Both knowledge and education are the very basic life tools that remove poverty in humanity. And the use of both knowledge and education in life is the fundamental to make tomorrow happier than today. Happiness in life comes automatically if poverty in life is alleviated if not eliminated. Poverty in life is basically attributable to life barriers in physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual existence of humanity. The basic life barrier that can cause poverty is lack of knowledge and education. Physical poverty comprises of:

  • hunger meaning not having enough food daily for physical, intellectual, emotion and spiritual growth and prosperity; 
  • hunger in turn causes inability to provide for basic needs of life such as clothing, housing, education;
  • both of the above in a community creates lack of community infrastructure which creates a harmonious co-existence for growth and prosperity through giving, taking and sharing of surplus of all life necessities through social rules and regulations based on DHARm;
  • a poor community is a breeding ground another life barrier of  attacks and plundering of community which do not suffer from the above three life barriers;
  • all of the above life barrier creates another life barrier - the necessity for human survival at any cost and competition for the survival through non-DHARmik lifestyle;
  • all the above life barriers causes failure to know why it is necessary to uphold one's DHARm in daily life and/or even if one knows one will fail to uphold DHARm because to  compete for survival and prosperity humanity will go to any extreme including the worst offence of taking another life. 

PVAF in 1996 started this web site for the first mandate of giving access to knowledge to the entire humanity. This start was a self-birth created by PVAF volunteers who had the first hand experience of all of the above life barriers and who had the wisdom gained from "school of hard knocks" of succeeding in life through knowledge and education. The PVAF web site kept on growing with increasing sophistication and means to access knowledge. The growth brought to PVAF requests to fund education to acquire knowledge and the self-birth of PVAF EDUCATION PROGRAM TO REMOVE POVERTY in Gujraat, India. Please click here to acquaint with this growth of PVAF in the PVAF news article.....

Today is a very happy day for PVAF volunteers, donors, site visitor and most of all PVAF education fund recipients whose basic life barriers has been eliminated with knowledge through employable education. Today is a happy day because 2006 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE has recognized micro-credit and micro-financing to remove poverty as a noble cause in life...which is the primary mandate of PVAF as explained above....

(The above column was contributed on behalf of PVAF Board of Directors by PVAF Chair For Education Program Development, Champaklal Dajibhai Mistry who has served in this position since the inception of PVAF...)



"I was not trained to understand self-help. I was trained, like all students of economics, to believe that all people, as they grow up, should prepare themselves to get jobs at the job market. If you fail to get a job, you register yourself for government charity. But I could not hold on to these beliefs when I faced the real life of the poor people in Bangladesh. For most of them [the] job market did not mean much. For survival they turned to economic activities on their own. But the economic institutions and policies did not take notice of their struggle. They were rejected by the formal systems for no fault of their own....

I was shocked to see how poor people suffered because they could not come up with small amount of working capital--[the] amount they needed was less than a dollar per person. Some of them could obtain the money only against extremely unfair terms. They were required to sell the goods to the lender at the price set arbitrarily by him....

We create institutions and policies on the basis of the way we make assumptions about us and others. We accept the fact that we will always have poor people around us. So we have had poor people around us. If we had believed that poverty is unacceptable to us, and that it should not belong to a civilized society, we would have created appropriate institutions and policies to create a poverty-free world. We wanted to go to the moon--so we went there. We wanted to communicate with each other very fast-so we bring appropriate changes in the communication technology. We achieve what we want to achieve. If we are not achieving something, my first suspicion will fall on the intensity of our desire to achieve it.

I strongly believe that we can create a poverty-free world, if we want to.... In that kind of world, [the] only place you can see poverty is in the museum. When school children will be on a tour of the poverty museum, they will be horrified to see the misery and indignity of human beings. They will blame their forefathers for tolerating this inhuman condition to continue in a massive way....

Grameen has taught me two things: first our knowledge base about people and their interactions is still very inadequate; second, each individual person is very important. Each person has tremendous potential. She alone can influence the lives of others within communities, nations-within and beyond her own time. Each of us has much more hidden inside of us than what we have had a chance to explore so far. Unless we create [an] enabling environment to discover the limits of our potential--we will never know what we have inside of us. Grameen has given me a faith, an unshakable faith in the creativity of human beings. That leads me to believe that human beings are not born to suffer the misery of hunger and poverty. They suffer now and did in the past because we turn our mind away from the issue. "

(Speaking Out, a regular feature in Countdown 2005, highlights commentary from the Microcredit Summit Campaign Executive Committee. This article quotes Muhammad Yunus, founder and managing director of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and Co-Chair of the Microcredit Summit Council of Practitioners. His remarks are excerpted from his acceptance speech for the Help for Self-help Prize of the Stromme Foundation, given on September 26, 1997 in Oslo, Norway.)

(The banner photo to this news item is from ASHOKA web site....Ashoka is leading a profound transformation in society. In the past three decades, the global citizen sector, led by social entrepreneurs, has grown exponentially. Just as the business sector experienced a tremendous spurt in productivity over the last century, the citizen sector is experiencing a similar revolution, with the number and sophistication of citizen organizations increasing dramatically. Rather than leaving societal needs for the government or business sectors to address, social entrepreneurs are creating innovative solutions, delivering extraordinary results, and improving the lives of millions of people....go to ASHOKA web site to know more by clicking on the yellow name hilite.....)




(above images from Tripura Foundaton)

Please click on the next line to enlighten yourself on the micro-credit, micro-financing and the winner of 2006 Noble Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus....and prayfully all this will inspire you to be a warrior to remove poverty on this planet earth.....


Benefits of microcredit still indistinct..

Canadian Globe and Mail:  October 14, 2006: TAVIA GRANT

Microfinance has helped millions of impoverished people, but the jury's still out on the depth of its effect on global poverty.

Ample anecdotal evidence suggests tiny loans, along with financial training, have hoisted many out of poverty.

Despite that, the precise benefits of microcredit are still hazy, several experts said.

"I am a great admirer of Professor Yunus -- he is a brave, generous and brilliant man who's done lots of things that needed to be done," said Abhijit Banerjee, a development economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, referring to yesterday's Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus. "But being where I am situated in the intellectual domain, I can't possibly say there is evidence that [microcredit] actually works."

Benefits of microcredit still indistinct. That's not to say that it doesn't work. It just means more thorough research may be needed. Mr. Banerjee, who hopes to get more results next year from a study he's conducting in Hyderabad, India, believes it works but says the evidence so far has been "patchy."

There are "a lot of very plausible theories which make it highly likely that in some version it does work," he said. "But to go from there and say that there actually is demonstrated evidence that it works is a stretch."

That's because it's hard to compare someone with a loan with someone without a loan. People who tend to take the loans do so voluntarily, meaning they're probably already more motivated to claw themselves out of poverty, he said.

A look at the Grameen Bank's website seems to suggest it's working. The bank's loan recovery rate is reported as 98.85 per cent, even though it doesn't require any collateral. The bank, which gives almost all of its loans to women, has turned a profit in every year but three of its 23-year history.


Bangladesh, once dubbed an international "basket case" by former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger, last year became one of the fastest-rising countries in the rankings of the Human Development Report. Microfinance alone accounts for 40 per cent of the reduction of rural poverty in the country, a World Bank researcher has found.

It's a model that's being replicated around the planet, from Bolivia to Burundi. And the world over, the success stories are remarkable.

That's not to say there aren't wrinkles. One is that just throwing a loan at someone, in and of itself, is not likely to work, say people with experience in the field.

"Just providing loans with cold money is not a good way to do it because very often the people . . . won't repay it," said France Michaud, spokeswoman for Montreal-based Desjardins Group, which works on microfinance projects in 22 countries.

Like others, Desjardins has moved from microcredit to microfinance. It teams up with local institutions to offer broader financial services for the poor, from "micro-insurance" to financial training, savings accounts and credit for housing.

Ms. Michaud says microfinance helps whole communities over generations, as self-sufficient families are more likely to send their children to school. The educated children, in turn, will be more likely to get jobs.

Another challenge may be that the area of microfinance is growing so much, so fast. About $4.5-billion (U.S.) worldwide lies in microfinance currently, a sum that's swelling 20 per cent a year, said Martin Connell, the co-founder of Toronto's ACE Bakery, who has worked in the area for two decades.

Many, including Prof. Yunus, are convinced its benefits will only expand.

"Credit should be the No. 1 human right," Mr. Yunus said in a December interview with The Globe and Mail. "If you can create this, all the other human rights -- income generation, food, shelter, health -- will come."


Muhammad Yunus: Born June 28, 1940
Chittagong, Bengal (current day Bangladesh)
Occupation Founder, Grameen Bank
here for Mr. Yunus's biography on Wikipedia

Canadian Globe and Mail: October 14, 2006: ESTANISLAO OZIEWICZ

Muhammad Yunus's "eureka moment" came more than 30 years ago when he encountered a nearly destitute Bangladeshi bamboo weaver enslaved to a rapacious moneylender.

"I couldn't understand how she could be so poor when she was making such beautiful things," recalled Mr. Yunus, a 66-year-old Bangladeshi economist, in an interview several years ago.

Yesterday, Mr. Yunus and the Grameen Bank he founded were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for establishing a "microcredit" system enabling some of the world's neediest people to establish small businesses through small, non-collateral loans. The average loan is about $200 (U.S.).

Back in 1974, not long after returning from doctoral studies in the United States, Mr. Yunus surveyed other villagers and found many, like the bamboo weaver, who were also indebted to loan sharks.

He decided to dig into his own pocket and lend the villagers money -- paying him back whenever they could -- so they could buy their own weaving supplies and "liberate themselves."

The idea led to the creation of the Grameen Bank in 1983. Today, it is the largest rural bank in Bangladesh with millions of borrowers, most of them women.

In awarding a prize more usually given to those pursuing peace in the world's trouble spots or fighting for human rights, the Norwegian Nobel committee specifically linked peace to reducing poverty.


"Lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty," the committee said. "Microcredit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights."

At his home in Dhaka, Mr. Yunus said: "I think this is a wonderful recognition for our efforts at Grameen Bank, and for all the women who work for us and who have made Grameen Bank a success."

Mr. Yunus has not been without detractors, some of whom have questioned the reliability of his repayment-rate figures -- 98.5 per cent, according to the bank -- and others who question whether his system actually promotes overall economic development.

Nevertheless, the concept has been copied widely, the Nobel committee noted, saying Mr. Yunus and the bank became "a source of ideas and models for the many institutions in the field of microcredit that have sprung up around the world."

The World Bank estimates that there are now more than 7,000 microfinancing institutions serving 16 million people.

James Wolfensohn, a former head of the World Bank, told The New York Times that the award testified to "the power of entrepreneurialism."

"What it has to do with peace is that it gives dignity to families and hope to families," he said. "And it's the lack of hope that is the greatest cause of bloodshed and intolerance."

Mr. Yunus said he will use the $1.37-million prize to fund a project to produce low-cost, nutritious food for the poor and for an eye hospital, a drinking-water project and a health-care plan.

He is the first Nobel Prize winner from Bangladesh, a poor country of about 140 million people located on the Bay of Bengal.

"Poverty alleviation is peace," Mr. Yunus said yesterday. "For hundreds of millions of people, peace comes only through poverty alleviation. So it's fitting that they have given me the peace prize as recognition for efforts to eradicate poverty from the world."

He also expressed delight at the recognition it has brought his country. "I am also proud for the whole country. . . .We are proud because at last the world has recognized what we have done in Bangladesh.

"We will now hold our heads high in the world. It will encourage us to do more work to fight poverty," he said.

Mr. Yunus lives in a modest, two-bedroom apartment in Dhaka with his wife, Afrozi, a physicist, and their daughter, Deena.

Martin Connell, co-founder of ACE Bakery in Toronto, has worked on microcredit issues for more than 20 years . He said yesterday that Mr. Yunus's impact has been profound.

"He has influenced literally tens of thousands of microcredit programs that are operating globally and he's probably inspired most of the microfinance movement on a global scale."

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