Sewing for Jesus

Kieow couldn’t pass English class.

A political science student in Bangkok, Thailand, Kieow Thongluan needed a passing grade in English to graduate, but she just couldn’t master the class she was taking at Ramkhamhaeng University. Then a friend told her about a class run by MTW missionaries who taught English using the Bible.

“Because of growing up in a Buddhist family, we believed in angels, but we never talked about God,” Thongluan, 36, recalls.

She had learned a little about Jesus in religion classes, but it wasn’t until she started reading the Bible with the MTW missionaries that Thongluan began to realize who He really was.

“Jesus isn’t just the father of a religion; He is God. If He is God, I want to know. That day I went home, I prayed to Jesus that if He was God, I wanted to know Him. That night, I had a dream. Someone was knocking on the door. The person said, ‘I’m standing here and knocking.’ I said, ‘Yes, I want to open the door.’”

Continue reading at byFaith . . . 

Microfinance in America

Grameen Bank Founder Muhammad Yunus

Presenting the first article in “Trends in Social Innovation”–a webzine I’ve been developing for The Philanthropic Enterprise. Enjoy this first piece and check out the magazine for similar stories.

In 1976, while visiting poor households near the village of Jobra, Bangladesh, Muhammad Yunus, Fulbright scholar and professor of economics, realized that a small loan could multiply exponentially in the hands of a skilled worker. Experimentally, Yunus gave a total of $27 USD to 42 Bangladeshi women to purchase bamboo that they made into furniture and sold. Each of the women earned a profit of $0.02 USD. Noting this small—but potentially huge—success, Yunus founded Grameen Bank, the world’s first modern microfinance operation, offering miniature loans to turn poor people into entrepreneurs. Since then, upwards of 12,000 microfinance—also known as microcredit or microenterprise—organizations have sprung up all around the world, ultimately helping 137.5 million poor families pull themselves out of poverty.

This model has grown most rapidly in developing nations, particularly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

But these days it’s no longer simply poor women in third world countries who benefit from microloans, but more than 170,000 individuals in America.

Read full article here…