Empowerment

Project Descriptions

Full sustainability means financial profitability. Financial profitability, in turn, bring social benefits. To begin with, the economically active poor were recognized as partners, which meant we had to change our perceptions. The working poor are vital, integral part of the economic system, operating at the edges of the “poverty line” up to the lower ends of the middle class. Here, BRI is committed to empower the community to raise their prosperity, and reducing the poverty. For too long “the poor” were thought of, at the policy level, as one homogenous group with certain, set characteristics. "They don't repay their loans". "They have to be trained how to handle a loan or run a business." "Their so-called businesses are too marginal." "Poor people don't save." "It's too costly to provide banking services to the poor." The paradigm shift came about when we asked the working poor, the micro-entrepreneurs, what they wanted in terms of financial products and services. Extensive research, development and testing through field studies and pilot programs began. Then in 1984, BRI launched a commercial banking system to meet their needs...not what we thought they needed.