Monday, 26 October 2009

Ten things under $27 I can live without to change the world

I've just received an invitation from Grameen to help get people thinking about how to make a difference, to help end poverty.

The Grameen Foundation's mission is to enable the poor, especially the poorest, to create a world without poverty.  The first seeds of the Foundation were sown by founder Muhammad Yunus when he made a loan of $27 to some Bangladeshi women out of his own pocket.  That small amount helped the women start their own business and lifted them out of poverty.  If we were all to do without for a little while, the money we would save could go to help someone else.  Small amounts of money can truly transform lives.

So what things could I manage without, things that cost less than $27 (approximately £16.50)?

  1. Bottled water.
  2. Candles
  3. Coffee when out shopping
  4. Instead of buying a book, use the library.
  5. Newspapers - read online.
  6. Clothes dryer.
  7. Walk instead of drive.
  8. Greetings cards.
  9. Plants for the garden.
  10. A glass of wine with dinner.

Sigh.  Well, that last item was hard. But when you consider that every day, women around the world are living on less than $1 a day and they have to use use ingenuity, creativity and hard work to make ends meet, sending $27 on the 27th seems the least I could do. 

One example of what a loan through Grameen can do to help is the story of Zeinab in Egypt.  With her first loan of 250 EGP (US$46), Zeinab started her business making wooden pots, crafts, and kitchen supplies. Now, she runs her own workshop from her home with three of her children.

What would you do without to change the world?

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  1. $27 dollars may seem very little to some but it really depends on what a person makes in a week/month to see if they could aford it.

    Example: If a person makes $1000 a month and they have bills that come to $900 then yes they can pull it off if it was a monthly thing but for someone who lives on less than that it may be hard for them.

  2. I would have a problem with #7 and 9 as I am in the boonies and love a garden plus I live 20 miles from the nearest store.. sigh..

  3. @Caroline, the campaign isn't intended to be a monthly thing, in fact it isn't really intended as anything other than to make people think about people who manage on $1 a day. The money saved by things we could manage without can mean a world of difference if you're trapped in poverty in the developing world.

    @Linda, true, we've developed a life that depends on transport. I can walk to some shops so I should do so more often.

  4. I think it's a great idea. Does it also support women in the US? I have lived on both sides of the coin: having lots and having nothing. I'll look into this, and thank you for having a generous, caring attitude. If we were all more like this there would be no poverty, no wars, no hungry... I can dream [envision] with you that the world is a better place. Thank you for an inspiring post.

  5. Hi Lille Diane. Yes I believe they do also support women in the US, though not in Europe (which is where I am). I was brought up in Africa and I'm very conscious that people just have no idea exactly what poverty in a developing nation is like - no running water, no electricity. It truly is a different world.

  6. Hi A. --

    It's admittedly out of some self-interest (I'm a newspaper editor, in case you didn't realise!) but I couldn't help but wince at your:-

    "5. Newspapers - read online."

    Also, in defence of newspapers -- it often seems that the online news one reads is international in nature. So if newspapers die out, you'd get less local news... not a good thing, to my mind. :S

  7. @corrin, yes that's a very good one! I should have thought of it. That would take me over my $27 on its own.

  8. Hi YTSL!

    I agree with you about local news. It's hard to come by other than in local newspapers, and I'm committed to buying them every week. Not so much the national papers. If the truth be told, I'm not a great reader online and will take a great deal of persuading to read an e-book for instance, so I think you're safe.

    The reasoning behind these 10 things, as far as I can tell because it was a bit vague, is to encourage people to give some thought to the little luxuries most of us could manage very easily without. A little like the custom of giving something up for Lent, but in this case to give the proceeds to Grameen to provide a micro-loan to someone who really does need it, and doesn't have the opportunity to save.

  9. could forget about giving up anything and just write them a check. Or...since it's not designed to be a monthly thing, but cash is tight UNLESS you give up something, SAVE a little each month and then send them a check. :)

  10. You certainly could do either of those things, Brad. It seems to me they bypass one of the important aspects though, and that is thought. I like the idea of people having to put their minds into action and think about what they are doing and why. Without thought, where is the care and compassion?

  11. It's a fantastic initiative and food for thought... I feel very selfish and empty when I am out shopping and remember there are women who fight every single day for mere survival...

  12. Just think how awesome it would be if everyone helped even a little.

  13. I'm pretty good on all of these things except Clothes Dryer. I have 5 animals- and live on a busy there is no way to hang things on a clothes line. But I feel good about everything else!


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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