Fighting poverty through micro-credit
Mr Wolfonsohn said micro-finance had made a powerful impact on improving poor people’s livelihood and was crucial in reducing poverty in poor countries.
Speaking at a meeting of the Micro-Credit Campaign Summit in Ottawa, Canada,in December 2004 , director Sam Daley-Harris, said micro-credit institutions were beneficial to the poor because the loans were collateral-free and easily accessible by both genders, while World Bank president James Wolfonsohn was quoted as having told 118 British parliamentarians that access to financial services for the poor was critical to the attainment of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals.
This is illustrated in the experience of one Indian micro-credit client who had her entire life changed in the most unpredictable circumstances. Gonuguntla Mariamama was born in a poor family in rural India. Her mother died when she was eight years old and she was married off to a relative when she was 10. Her husband’s family owned two hectares of land which was not arable and could not, therefore, yield crops. They survived as farm labourers on other people’s farms. Mariamama could not afford to educate her five children. She married off her daughter and encouraged her sons to work as farm labourers.
In a quest for survival, she began sewing after hard-working days on the farms until she learnt of SHARE, an Indian micro-bank and obtained three small loans. Mariamama has now revived her husband’s dry land and she has an irrigated orchard of oranges and a rice field — a development which has turned around her life. She also owns four buffaloes, one calf and 17 goats.