This is the type of thing that too few of us know about because too few of our media outlets pay attention to truly supportive and community based projects.
Please take a moment to learn about how a network of women in Haiti have been able to mobilize quickly to distribute funds to get the economy moving again.
A branch of the Grameen bank of Bangladesh (specializing in micro-lending), Fonkoze, was able to work with high level officials within 24 hrs to get money to people in need.
Most essentially, read this and pass it along so that we can spread the word about some really important avenues for reducing dependence on commercial banking (which cannot easily respond in crisis).
Even the U.S. State Department understands how important this is — saying that this alternative operation “may well have stabilized the banking system for the country’s most vulnerable population.”
Haiti womens micro-lending bank brings cash to the rescue
Understandably this was not the lead story during the first two days of the crisis. But, I would love to see us challenge more of the mainstream media to shine some light on these smaller, unconventional approaches to banking that really work to support people in challenging circumstances.
Yes, it would mean accepting that not all great ideas come from the U.S., and it would also mean accepting that the most powerful (by which I mean essentially contributing to society’s well being) and important operations are NOT run by U.S. non-profits and/or government aid entities. Self-determination and grassroots organizing in action would need to be valued.
But, wouldn’t this be a much better use of time than talking ad nauseum about fears of violence from those in desperate circumstances? The stench of racism in that conversation is so strong that it diverts attention from the remarkable work being done by many within third world countries today. Truly, this type of micro-lending is something that we could use more of here in the U.S. too. Read and feed your imagination. Then, pass it on to someone else.