Mustafa Kemal Atatürk died at 9:05 a.m. on November 10, 1938 at the age of 57. He was the founder of the Turkish Republic and its first president. Every year on November 10, daily life and traffic stops at 9:05 a.m. for two minutes as sirens wail, traffic stops and people observe two minutes of silence out of respect to Atatürk”s memory.
Getting to meet my hero. Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace prize was in Istanbul on December 15th for the signing ceremony of the establishment of the Microfinance and Social Enterprise Center at Okan University. Known as the “Banker to the Poor”, Dr Yunus established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983, fueled by the belief that credit is a fundamental human right. His objective was to help poor people escape from poverty by providing loans on terms suitable to them and by teaching them a few sound financial principles so they could help themselves. I first discovered microfinance after reading his first book, Price of a Dream, and have been a fan ever since. Getting to meet him, even if ever so briefly, was an real treat for me.
Other blogs about Maya and Turkey:
Kim Strathearn is a Kiva Fellow serving in Istanbul with Maya. Kiva’s newest Field Partner in Istanbul, Turkey. To learn more about Maya and their clients, please visit their Partner Page, join our newly created Friends of Maya Lending Team, or make a loan to one of their awesome clients. Looking for gifts that make a difference this Holiday Season, consider the gift that changes lives, Kiva Cards. What could be better that giving the gift of helping someone?