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Businesses and people changing the world we live in

The Grameen Bank has been described as the greatest innovation in the third world in the last century. Dr Mohammed Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank, was dissatisfied with the poverty in Bangladesh and set out to find a solution for it. This led him to develop the ground breaking banking system that has since changed the lives of people around the world. Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy instead of retiring at the age of 65 mortgaged his home and opened a hospital to perform free or low-cost cataract surgery. Instead of thinking about his retirement, he sold his house so that others would be able to see. Social entrepreneurs are selfless people who put others before themselves.Here is little information on these remarkable men.

Dr Muhammed Yunus and the Grameen Bank

The Grameen Bank has reversed conventional banking wisdom by focusing on women borrowers. Loans are extended without the need for collateral and to the very poorest borrowers. In fact, to qualify for a loan from the Grameen Bank, a villager must demonstrate that her family owns less than one half acre of land. When asked if the poor were not high risk Dr Yunus replied that it is actually the rich who are failing to pay their loans at the moment.

The bank has provided $4.7 billion dollars to 4.4 million families in rural Bangladesh. With 1,417 branches, Grameen provides services in 51,000 villages, covering three quarters of all the villages in Bangladesh. Yet its system is largely based on mutual trust and the enterprise and accountability of millions of women villagers.

Today, more than 250 institutions in nearly 100 countries operate micro-credit programs based on the Grameen Bank model, while thousands of other micro-credit programs have emulated, adapted or been inspired by the Grameen Bank. According to one expert in innovative government, the program established by Yunus at the Grameen Bank “is the single most important development in the third world in the last 100 years, and I don’t think any two people will disagree.”

Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy and Aurolab

Dr. V. and David Green are dedicated to making medical technology and health care services accessible, affordable and financially self-sustaining. More than two million surgeries a year are performed at Aravind Eye Hospital using products made through Aurolab, such as intraocular lenses, spectacle lenses, optical lenses, suture needles, cataract kits and hearing aids.

Aurolab’s products are used by eye care institutions and ophthalmologists in more than 120 countries. The factory produces hundreds of thousands of lenses each year — 10 percent of the world supply — at $5.00 a pair. The company turns a profit of thirty percent on its investment. With the revenue stream produced by Aurolab, Dr. V. has been able to open five new eye hospitals in southern India.

Through Aravind Eye Hospital and Aurolab, Dr. V. and David Green have performed what might as well be miracles for elderly Indians living in remote villages. Restoring their sight and hearing has given them back their dignity and allowed them to contribute to their communities again.

Categories: General
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