Excerpt from Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East, Author Isobel Coleman:
There is a familiar self-help aphorism, “If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, but if you teach him to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.” A veteran development expert once quipped to me: If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime, but if you give a woman [the] title to the fish pond, she will clean it up, preserve it for the next generation, stock it with new fish, and create a fish farm to employ the village.”
When I repeated this saying to the Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and one of the architects of the global microfinance movement, he smiled knowingly. Grameen now focuses almost exclusively on women borrowers, although in its early days, Grameen’s goal was to have a 50/50 split between male and female borrowers. And then something happened: We started noticing something new. Money that went to the family through the woman brought so much more benefit to the family than the same amount of money going to the family through the man. It was very clear. Women took very good care of it. And being a poor woman, she had an amazing skill, the skill to manage a scarce resource…and she brought this excellent skill of managing a scarce resource to the little money we gave her. She got the largest, biggest mileage you can ever think. And if mother is earning the money, children become the first beneficiary of it and everybody else gradually benefits from it.
As we are employing women exiting the forced sex trade, we are seeing this kind of transformation right before our very eyes. Thanks for being a part of the journey!