Vol. 5 Num 850 Sun. October 15, 2006  
Front Page

Yunus changed her life
Says now solvent first borrower of microcredit

Marium Bibi doesn't know what the Nobel Prize is, but she realises that Dr Muhammad Yunus, who had played a vital role in altering the course of her life, has received something extraordinary.

The 70-year-old woman was the first recipient of the small loans by Dr Yunus's Grameen Bank in 1976, through which a destitute Marium managed to build a prosperous life later on.

"Back then, I was very poor and had been leading a miserable life with my five sons," she said while talking to The Daily Star at Bazal Master Bari premises at village Jobra near Chittagong University under Hathazari upazila yesterday morning.

"I was one of those who took loan from the Grameen Bank in the first batch that was divided into 11 groups, comprising six to seven people in each one of them," Marium said recollecting her early days of struggle.

"We had to take loans from the local money-lenders (Mahajan) at a high interest rate to carry on our endeavour of weaving baskets, but the Grameen Bank showed me the way of living by providing loans with a small interest," she said.

"I took Tk 1,500 from the bank and bought a cow. Later on, I sent one of my boys abroad taking further loans from the bank after repaying my early ones regularly," said a nostalgic Marium describing the day as one of the major turning points in her life.

A contented Marium added that at present, three of her sons are expatriates in Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Besides, she owns a one-story building and five shops at the Jobra Bazaar. She expressed her gratitude to Grameen Bank for all these.

She could remember Sufia Khatun, Manjura Begum, Hafizur Rahman, Anjuman Ara Begum, Monwara Begum, Noor Pakhi, Firoza Begum, Tahera Begum and Marium Begum (2) among the ones who took loans from the bank along with her.

Most of them have already changed their lives through the micro-finance of Dr Yunus, Marium said observing that those who could not, are solely responsible for their own failure and miseries.

Locals said that the people of the village are not rich but they are content and leading their lives in joy and happiness after having the touch of Dr Yunus's guidelines three decades ago.