Why beggars can’t be given loans ?

Over the years Karachi with its other major issues has seen an increase in number of beggars on every major road and corner of the city. There is a good percentage of professionals & then there are those who do it as last resort as they have no other way. After being asked for money by 4 beggars on my way to destination this morning few clips rushed through my mind about a GEO TV special interview few days back. The host was Dr. Iftikhar ( Jawabdeyh ). The guest was non other than the great visionary Dr. Muhammad Yunus of Grameen bank.

Dr. Muhammad Yunus, a great visionary is the founder of Grameen Bank & the concept of microcredit. He founded the Grameen Bank in 1976 to make loans to poor Bangladeshis. Since then the Grameen Bank has issued more than US$ 5.1 billion to 5.3 million borrowers.In Bangladesh today, Grameen has 1,084 branches, with 12,500 staff serving 2.1 million borrowers in 37,000 villages. The success of the Grameen model has inspired similar efforts throughout the developing world and even in industrialized nations including the United States. The Grameen model of micro financing has been emulated in 23 countries. He is seen as a probable Nobel prize winner in future. Mr Yunus said he wants to have a poverty museum & wants to see which country will be first one to make a poverty museum. ( “One day our grandchildren will go to museums to see what poverty was like” )

Mr. Yunus being the founder of the concept of microcredit gave a detailed outline of how he started his microcredit concept and changed the lives of millions in Bangladesh. Being the banker to the poor, one of the most impressive concepts that he brought is giving loans to beggars. According to Dr. Yusuf 2000 beggars have completely left beggaging and 5 to 7 thousand are almost about to, out of 80 thousand loans given to beggars. This is really an achievement.

Coming back to the point, I wonder why no one every bothered in gov. in last 25 years to follow such a great idea and why non of the so called NGO’s ever worked on this. Both the government & these NGO’s have done nothing but talking in last 59 years. It is interesting if the grameen formula can actually work here in pakistan given the fact that we have professionals beggars who , I doubt will ever pay back to the bank. But at least we can tell who really wants to change & who doesn’t. Right now those who have no hope don’t have many options, but to beg. People in pakistan tend to be more willing to throw money on extravagant speding then giving to poor. There is a real scarcity of philanthropists in our country. But that has been the state of whole Muslim Ummah, anyways. But my question remains the same. Will grameen formula ever work here ?

Link One , CNN , AUDIO interview ( with some technical difficulties in audio )

10 Comments so far

  1. Kashif (unregistered) on October 5th, 2006 @ 1:47 pm

    The beggars who roam on our streets, especially in Ramadan, are professionals. If you give them loans they won’t disappear.

  2. Feet Maestro (unregistered) on October 5th, 2006 @ 2:07 pm

    A number of microcredit initiatives have come up in the last 10 years, so I think people _are_ trying to emulate the Grameen example.

  3. Mutahir (unregistered) on October 5th, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

    Im not sure whether the Grameen system will work here, but its noteworthy to see that in the last 2 years, 3 microfinance banks have opened up… all serving the poor. I seriously urge everyone to do some research on the Grameen system by visiting http://www.grameen-info.org. Its extremely inspirational and purposeful..

  4. Bengali (unregistered) on October 5th, 2006 @ 10:39 pm

    Why wouldn’t it work here Mutahir if it’s working so well in East Pakistan? There’s really not much difference between West and East (apart from language obv)

  5. Kashif (unregistered) on October 5th, 2006 @ 11:05 pm

    Micro-finance initiatives are already here, mostly in the form of NGOs and community based programmes. However, i repeat, loans are not for beggars.

  6. MB (unregistered) on October 6th, 2006 @ 2:13 am

    “However, i repeat, loans are not for beggars. ”

    Why thats the question ?

  7. Akif (unregistered) on October 6th, 2006 @ 7:17 am

    i think loans to beggars will work, as much as we love to assume that “proffessional” beggars dont want to change the fact of the matter is that they dont have any alternative. If we do provide them with one that gives them adequate income and perhaps a bit more self-esteem it could work.
    Im not saying all beggars will change but a large majority would.

  8. Kashif (unregistered) on October 6th, 2006 @ 9:34 am

    Already gave answer in my first post. These beggars are professionals. They would take the loans and come back to street the next day. Loans should be given to people who are not professionals, that is they are not street-beggars, but are ‘masakeen’.

  9. MB (unregistered) on October 6th, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

    Kashif :
    Micro-finance initiatives that you are talking about are almost non-existant. Which such initiative has been successful, the way grameen has, if you know any. At least reality is otherwise.

    And how a bank here would know if the person is professional or not ? Can you name any bank where you can enter and say you are a beggar and you want a loan ?.

  10. Kirna (unregistered) on October 7th, 2006 @ 5:52 pm

    huh? what are you saying? a number of microcredit institutions have opened up. eg. khushali bank et al. and they’re getting pervasive slowly. every new ida takes time to establish. but the concept of microcredit hit pakistan a very very long time ago. on other notes, no microcredit to beggars because microcredit is given only to help in small/homebased businesses etc where the loan will be put to something productive. if beggars want to start a business or something like that i’m sure they’ll get microcredit if they discuss their plans with banks.

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