Kari Goebel is the Marketing and Communications Intern based out of Grameen Foundation’s Technology Center in Seattle, WA.
As a full-time intern and volunteer, I have had a lot of time to reflect about life on a budget. I am constantly making decisions about how to keep my spending low and maintain a positive savings-account balance. Yes, I should start taking the bus to work so I do not have to pay for parking or gas. No, I should not go out to lunch, but pack some leftovers from home instead. Yes, maybe it is a good idea to move in with my parents, versus paying rent on an apartment. No, maybe I do not need a fancy espresso this morning.
But even though times have been tough for me financially, my experience is nothing like some of the poor and poorest worldwide, some of whom live on less than $1.25 a day! (My bus ride alone costs $5.50, round trip!) However, Grameen Foundation works to fight global poverty and help the poor lift themselves out of poverty – like in the case of Bosede Ogunleye of Nigeria.
In the past, Bosede only earned about $0.26 per day selling filtered water on the streets. As a single mother of two children, she was unable to provide daily meals to them. Bosede went to a local microfinance institution and took out a loan for 10,000 Nara (US$90), which enabled her to invest in other products to sell. As her clientele grew, she was able to purchase a freezer and a generator, which enabled her to start selling frozen fish and meat. Eventually, Bosede grew her household income more than six-fold, earning nearly $4.50 per day and moving her family to the Nigerian middle-class bracket. Now Bosede can pay her children’s schooling fees with ease and no longer has to worry about if she is will to be able to feed her kids.
I may be on an extremely tight budget, but this December, I will choose to give my family a gift from Grameen Foundation that helps poor people around the around the world, like Bosede, move out of extreme poverty. (For once, I hope my family does not read this blog or their holiday gift will lack any surprise!) During this holiday season, I ask you to consider honoring a friend, loved one, or family member with a gift of hope and opportunity to the poor and poorest. Let’s fight global poverty together!