Microfinance and the Bible
In 2006 the Nobel Peace Prize was given to a banker and his bank. Muhammad Yunus began to give small loans to suffering people when his country suffered a severe famine in the 1970s. That eventually led to the creation of the Grameen Bank and its long-term, low interest loans for people starting micro-enterprises.
The concept of microfinance has since spread around the globe. For many of the institutions providing the loans, the Bible provides inspiration. One example is an organization in the Philippines whose core values are taken from the Bible, including Proverbs 14:23: “Hard work brings profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Another organization, Hope International’s motto is to “provide biblically based training, savings services, and loans that restore dignity and break the cycle of poverty.” For example, a woman in Ghana lost her husband and her home. This single mom later received a microfinance loan of just $65 from an organization inspired by the biblical story of the Good Samaritan. An experienced seamstress, she grew a business, paid back her loan and, most importantly, she no longer lives in poverty. Millions have escaped poverty thanks to microfinance, but millions more have not. Allegations of abuse by microfinance organizations have also surfaced. Still, experts say there’s “robust growth potential” for microfinance throughout the developing world. And while the microfinance movement wasn’t initially inspired by the Bible, its dramatic growth has been assisted by organizations and individuals who have.