Change Yourself…Change The World.

Grameen Bank
June 21, 2009, 2:11 pm
Filed under: Bangladesh

Dear friends,

Today was my first day as an intern at Grameen Bank. I hope every single day is like the one I had today! I don’t know how to condense everything that I have done and learned today into a short story to relay back to you. What I CAN say is, Grameen Bank is an amazing institution, and in my opinion they most definitely deserved the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Of course, I am coming away from my first day as an intern where they spoonfeed you how amazing Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus is. But truthfully, just even the ideas themselves are amazing and completely innovative, and I truly believe that Grameen Bank does EVERYTHING in the best interest for the poorest people in Bangladesh.

Today I met a whole bunch of interns, walked around the Grameen headquarters, met with Janat (Head of the International Program department and one of the starters of Grameen Bank- she is mentioned in Muhammed Yunus’s book ‘Banker to the Poor,’), met with my coordinator, and went over all of the basics of Grameen Bank. It is amazing that almost all of the people I have met that work for Grameen Bank have been there for over 20 years. Today my awesome coordinator, Humayum Kabir, went into great detail about Grameen Bank and answered all of my questions about micro finance. I have come to respect him a lot in only one day because of the thoroughness of his answers, and his will to make me understand terms I had never heard before (for example, Grameen Bank borrowers pay 20% interest back on their loans at a declining rate for one year- which means that they actually pay a 10% flat rate. Kabir spent about half an hour explaining to me what this means). I feel that I’ve gotten an amazing education today.

However, with that being said, it was all my own doing. I had heard experiences from other interns last night- how coordinators take weeks to set up appointments that is just a simple phone call, that most of the interns just hang around all day waiting for something to do… that some of them just check in the morning and then leave the rest of the day… well, that is not what I came to Grameen Bank to do. I came here to learn about micro finance, and to have an amazing experience, and no one is going to stand in my way of that. I had to deal some tough cards to the internship department today (fortunately I have been in developing countries for the past year so I know how to be insistent). If I hadn’t persisted that I be given a full orientation today and just gone with the flow, my day would have been from 10 AM-1 PM, like most of the other new interns. Instead, I made sure my day was from 10 AM- 6 PM; I facilitated all of the questions to Kabir which kept him explaining all of the types of loans and positions at Grameen Bank for two hours; I almost demanded an internship at Grameen Solutions after this week, because my friend who interned here last summer told me they have the best internship program- and I went to the Chief about it instead of my coordinator, who made sure it happened; and I battled with the internship coordinator head to let me go on a field trip tomorrow instead of ‘taking a day of rest from jet lag.’ What I am trying to convey here is, working at an organization like this, especially in SouthEast Asia, is not easy. You need to fight your way to get things done, but if you are persistent enough then they WILL be done. And I WILL have an amazing internship and I WILL learn a lot. I am sure of it. I feel that I came off as a highly persistent intern, but a gracious and deeply interested one- some one who is worth coordinating FOR.

I am so happy to be here learning about Grameen Bank and micro finance. I feel that this program is going to have a big impact on my future.

Until next time friends,

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi Brittany,

First of all congratulations for your blog, It’s very interesting and usefull.

I wirte you because this summer I go to spend some time at Grameen Bank and I really would appreciate some recomendations as for example where and how to fund the accomodation or how long it takes to have a Visa. Really I don’t know what I need probably you know it better.

Please contact me, I hope you was actually enjoyed as much as it looks you do usually!

Kind Regards,

Lucia Smith Prado

Comment by Lucia

Hey Britney,

How long did it take for Grameen Bank to respond to your initial internship proposal and proposed schedule? They have been slow in responding to my emails. Is this something you encountered?

Comment by Rahfin faruk

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