I found out about Blog Action Day just today while I was blog hopping. I find the concept unique, creative and something that’s worth joining. Earning income is not my only passion for blogging. I also want to contribute to the good of society through my blogging and joining Blog Action Day is just one of those avenues wherein I can somehow contribute back to society.
According to their blogsite Blog Action Day is “an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day.” Their aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion. Again, I say that this is a really cool idea. (But the name is not so cool because “Blog Action Day” spells B.A.D and we don’t want to be BAD, we want to be GOOD hehehehe)
This year’s Blog Action Day topic is “Poverty.” No specific topic in poverty is given. I would surmise that most articles would be about a solution to the “poverty problem.”. Last year (2007) it was about the environment.
Somehow circumstances have been arranged by God to make me blog about poverty, in particular to write about an “answer to the poverty problem” because of the following reasons. First of all I had been exposed in my reading to how non governmental organization help provide an answer to the poverty problem. Secondly, two days ago I just read an article on the Time Magazine entitled “Creative Capitalism” by Bill Gates. Today, I learned about Blog Action Day and that the topic is all about poverty.
Poverty is present everywhere and has been a pressing and growing problem as the world’s population continues to grow. There are several factors that contribute to the poverty problem and each expert have a different answer to the poverty problem. Since the beginnings of the existence of governments, leaders are trying to come up with their own answer to the poverty problem. In fact an answer to the poverty problem is found in one of the 8 international development goals of the United Nations that is to “reduce in half extreme poverty by the year 2015.”
Poverty is a problem that mankind has been facing since the beginning of human civilization. In 1862 Victor Hugo wrote in his magnum opus, Les Misérables, “Seeing so much poverty everywhere makes me think that God is not rich. He gives the appearance of it, but I suspect some financial difficulties.”
Perhaps Victor Hugo did not bother to search the Holy Scriptures. God himself gave us an answer to the poverty problem. The Bible contains the answer to the poverty problem. The book of Proverbs is filled with down to earth wise sayings that will serve as the answer to the poverty problem. The wisdom found in the book helps a person handle his finances properly in order that he might he might find an answer to the poverty problem that he is facing. Proverbs and the rest of the Bible are also filled with instructions on how the rich will help provide an answer to the poverty problem. A worthy example is Proverbs 19:7 wherein it says that ““When you help the poor you are lending to the Lord–and he pays wonderful interest on your loan!” In fact I wrote a post on this entitled “The world’s best investment”
For decades traditional bankers always taught that the people you lend to must have the 5 “Cs” of credit. Those or Character, Capacity to Pay, Collateral, Capital and Conditions. So how can you lend to poor people when they only have one of the five or none at all?
The traditional bankers were proven to be wrong. In 1976 Professor Muhammad Yunus of the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh started to design a credit delivery system to provide banking services targeted at the rural poor. This later led to the establishment of Grameen Bank whose main objective is “banking for the poor.” As of September 2008, Grameen Bank has 7.58 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women. Grameen bank has 2,530 branches, and provides services in 83,178 villages, covering more than 99 percent of the total villages in Bangladesh. Total amount of loan disbursed since inception was US $ 7.28 billion. Out of this, US $ 6.50 billion has been repaid. Total revenue generated by 2007 amounted to US $ 155.05 million The Bank operated so successfully that in 1995, they decided not to receive any more donor funds. The growing amount of deposits is more than enough to run and expand its credit program and repay its existing loans. The bank even declared 20% dividend for the year 2007. Borrowers of Grameen Bank at present own 95 per cent of the total equity of the bank. The remaining 5 per cent is owned by the government.
For providing his own unique answer to the poverty problem, Professor Muhammad Yunus received the Nobel Price in 2006.
I doubt if Professor Muhammad Yunus knows Proverbs 19:7, nor do I think that this certain verse became his inspiration for the establishment of Grameen Bank. However Proverbs 19:7 just proves that the answer to poverty problem provided in the Bible is true. If only bankers read that verse and took it to heart, they would have been the one reaping the “wonderful interest” on the student loans made to poor people.
But you might ask, what about those people who are really born so poor and those who lack opportunity to even uplift their own selves is there an answer to the poverty problem for them ?. Interestingly enough, God has a solution for long term poverty. He has mandated the Israelites to make this part of their national law. Leviticus 25:8-31 talks about “a year of Jubilee.”
The year of the Jubilee was God’s answer to the poverty problem especially when dealing with long term poverty. The year of the Jubilee was celebrated every 50 years. It gave hope and new opportunities for people who are caught in the cycle of poverty. During the year of the Jubilee, land was restored to its original owners. Debts were cancelled and slaves set free. The value of Land, slaves and loans were based on their nearness to the Jubilee year. This allowed for a new beginning in every generation. This radical idea when implemented in our modern democratic, capitalistic driven society might somehow help provide an answer to the poverty problem.
Ironically when people are caught up in the cycle of poverty they immediately blame God. They fail to realize that God gave the answer to the poverty problem in the Bible already. Perhaps instead of blaming him, they might consider getting to know Him more through his Word instead of trying to find an answer to the poverty problem themselves.