Obama confers Presidential Medal of Freedom on Dr. Muhammad Yunus August 14, 2009Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, Yunus.
Tags: Muhammad Yunus, Obama, Presidential Medal of Freedom, USA
Dr. Muhammad Yunus has been conferred highest civilian honour of USA by President Obama in a marked ceremony held at White House on 12th August 2009. The Presidential Medal of Freedom was also bestowed upon 16 others citizens of the world who includes Archbishob of South Africa Desmond Tutu, leading British Scientist Stephen Hawkins and former Iris President Mary Robinson.The medal is given for “especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
President Obama lauded the contribution of Muhammad Yunus in alliviating the poverty from the world saying, ” Muhammad Yunus was just trying to help a village, but some how manage to change the world”.
In reaction in an interview Muhammad Yunus said that it is not a personal achievemnt of him, rather it’s an honour and an achievment of Bangladesh. He said that it proves Bangladesh can also do something good to the world. Microcredit which he started from a village in Bangladesh while he was a Professor of Economics in the university has now spread all over the world and virtually all the countries of the world are practicing microcredit now including the developed countries like USA, Canada and French.
It is also sad to say that when the world is recognising his contribution, some people in Bangladesh is trying to deny the impact of microcredit on the economy in Bangladesh.They say that microcredit is not enough to eradicate the poverty from the society.[DS] It’s true, microcredit alone is not enough to change the society, but in their deliberation there is a hint of denial of the impact of microcredit on the poverty in our country. This tendency of denial was also present in the past.[DS]
Dr. Yunus explained in the interview that the present banking system support the people from the upper layer of the society and it is arrested in the middle and can’t reach the people at the bottom. On the contrary, it is the microcredit which support people from the bottom of the society who have no money, no collaterals and no recommendation.
Regarding high interest rates of microcredit, he said that Grameen has 4 types of loan- one has 20% interest, the house loan has 8.5% interest, student loan has 5% which also count after the completion of the study and loan for beggers has no interest. Nearly 150000 beggers are enjoying this loan. Dr Yunus said that Grameen ensures the 100% education of the children of its clients, many of them could complete the intermediate level and enter into the universities and medical colleges becoming doctors, engineers and Ph D holders. Grameen provides scholarship to persue higher education in the foreigh countries like USA, Canada. he added that very recently 6 students had gone to Malayasia on higher studies.
On forced extraction of loan repayment system, he told that Grameen is established to ease the suffering of poor people, not to extract money in their distress. During ‘Aila’, the latest cyclone which inundated huge area along the sea belt, Grameen not only suspended the loan collection and also support the suffering people by supplying pure water and food and supporting in their rehabilatation.
On the question of increasing gap between the poor and the rich in Bangladesh as predicted by World Bank and few experts he said that statistics say that from 1990 onwards poverty decreases by 1% per year till 2000, then it decreses by 2% till 2005. The stats beyond that is yet not available. But if it continues in the same rate, we can decrease the poverty to 50% by 2015. He hoped that if it is possible to decrease the poverty by half in 2015, it is not impossible to eradicate poverty from Bangladesh by 2030.[Courtesy:NTV]
In the post ceremial reception of the award winners, Dr. Yunus requested Obama and Mitchel to visit Bangladesh which they agreed to accomplish as the time permits.
Bangladesh feel proud as a nation when Yunus got the Nobel Prive for peace in 2006. Bangladesh is again feeling proud for what Yunus has achievd fof him and for Bangladesh.
An ordinary citizen