Vol. 5 Num 549 Mon. December 12, 2005  
Front Page

Media mogul Turner enchanted by microcredit borrowers

Visiting UN Foundation Chairman and Founder of CNN Ted Turner witnessed the Grameen Bank's activities including its microcredit programmes at village Joymandup in Singair under Manikganj district yesterday.

Turner, along with the members of the Board of Directors of UN Foundation, came on a four-day visit to Bangladesh on Saturday to promote public-private partnerships here.

"Bangladesh is a nice country and the people have numerous potentials," said the media mogul, who was highly impressed to see how the rural poor, especially the women, are changing their lots through the microcredit programmes of the Grameen Bank.

"The world is following the Grameen Bank programmes," he said.

Chairman of Turner Enterprises Inc, environmentalist and philanthropist Turner created the UN Foundation in 1998 with his historic gift for the United Nations.

"We have just started visiting Bangladesh...the UN Foundation so far provided $7million in last six years and we will decide for further measures to take about Bangladesh," Turner told the newsmen during his Singair visit.

Beneficiaries of Grameen Bank's programme and Palli Phone women shared their experience with Turner who gave a patient hearing to know how the suffering people changed their lots.

He was pleased to hear how the borrowers succeeded in eradicating poverty, illiteracy and early marriage as well as establishing gender equality and empowering themselves.

Turner and his board members noted with satisfaction that rural poor are using loan from Grameen Bank for educating their children in different educational institutions, including colleges and universities.

Turner went to the house of Roksana, who established a bio-gas plant at her house at Joymondup village with the credit support from Grameen Bank.

Maron Chandra Sarkar, once a lame beggar, told Turner that he took Tk 1,000 as loan from Grameen Bank, purchased a cellphone set and quit begging as he earns Tk 1500 to Tk 1600 each month by allowing villagers to make calls in return for money.

Turner visited a folk fair and a cultural function arranged by the village children.

He will visit the Grameen Bank head office at Mirpur today.

Turner will meet Prime Minister Khaleda Zia this noon and attend a press conference at Sonargaon Hotel. The CNN founder will also meet the members of the civil society today.

President of the UN Foundation Timothy E Wirth, former prime minister of Norway Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General Nafis Sadik, founder of Grameen Bank Dr Muhammad Yunus, among others, accompanied Turner.

Ted Turner will leave for India tomorrow.

Media mogul Ted Turner dances with children at a cultural programme while visiting a Grameen Bank project at Singair in Manikganj yesterday. PHOTO: STAR