On May 8, Maria van der Heijden had the privilege, as co-founder of Women on Wings, to be part of a lunch meeting with Professor Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank and honoured with the Noble Prize for Peace in 2006. The UBS Bank hosted this meeting in its office in Amsterdam; Corinne Heijn, founder & president UnitedSucces, brought together four social entrepreneurs to share stories. The team talked for two hours with Professor Yunus and his colleague Saskia Bruysten.
Yunus about Women on Wings
Asked for feedback on the work of Women on Wings, Professor Yunus said: “You are doing wonderful work. You are dealing with women. In our region we completely forgot the economic role of half the mankind, women mostly have a servant role and follow their husband. You give women the opportunity to discover themselves. If you can overcome this huge challenge, that will be a transformative thing. Congratulations for that!”
Three Soundbites of Yunus
Next to the feedback on the work of Women on Wings, Professor Yunus shared his wise thoughts and experiences of more than 40 years’ work. Just to give a brief overview herewith three soundbites.
1. Think big, act small
Find and select your biggest problem in the world. Have the hunger in your stomach to solve this huge issue. Then take a tiny piece of the problem and solve this.
2. Set demonstration
By solving the problem for this slice of the cake, you set an example for the rest. Look what works with a small group.
If something works, this can be replicated by people themselves. Ultimately, we are all the same people. All over the world. Yunus started with microfinance in Bangladesh; nowadays the Grameen Bank also has 7 branches in the United States. “Microfinance is just a transformative process. Every human being is an entrepreneur, we just have to give people faith and let them explore their own strength.”