I went to the bank and proposed that they lend money to the poor people. The bankers almost fell over.
They explained to me that the bank cannot lend money to poor people because these people are not creditworthy.
But we have created a society that does not allow opportunities for those people to take care of themselves because we have denied them those opportunities.
I had no idea that I would ever get involved with something like lending money to poor people, given the circumstances in which I was working in Bangladesh.
My greatest challenge has been to change the mindset of people. Mindsets play strange tricks on us. We see things the way our minds have instructed our eyes to see.
There are cultural issues everywhere - in Bangladesh, Latin America, Africa, wherever you go. But somehow when we talk about cultural differences, we magnify those differences.
I made a list of people who needed just a little bit of money. And when the list was complete, there were 42 names. The total amount of money they needed was $27. I was shocked.
Here we were talking about economic development, about investing billions of dollars in various programs, and I could see it wasn't billions of dollars people needed right away.