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The Mission-Driven Venture: Business Solutions to the World s Most Vexing Social Problems by Marc J. Lane

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Chapter 5The Poor and Their Banker Lead the Way

Goretti Nyabenda's life in Burundi, Central Africa, was headed in a downward spiral. As a thirty-five-year-old mother of six, Nyabenda was stuck in an abusive relationship with a husband who barely spoke to her, restricted her travel in and out of their home, and spent the family's income on local banana brews, leaving them with little to nothing. He frequently beat her. After connecting with other local women and obtaining a $2 microloan, Nyabenda was able to build a small business, brewing the same banana beer on which her husband frequently wasted the family's income, but now for profit. Her business grew quickly and soon she was able to supplement her family's income, send her daughters to school, and pay her husband's medical bills.

Despite her windowless world, Nyabenda managed to overcome the barriers she faced to become a successful businesswoman, garner respect from her community, and eventually even demand respect from her husband. Her many achievements result from the economic security she gained through microfinance, a strategy that has been copied throughout southern Asia, the United States, and all around the world.

Nyabenda benefited from a community microcredit program modeled after Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Since the bank's inception in 1976, it has grown to become an international model for microcredit programs designed to alleviate poverty. Grameen Bank was born out of a project undertaken by Dr. Muhammad Yunus, ...

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