A Selfless Heart Can Change the World
By Richard Tsai
“Whether you are coming from a poor family, middle, or a richest family, human beings are human beings.” said Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Peace Prize winner. “They not only take care of themselves, they also take care of the rest of the world. That’s what human beings are all about. But the present system of economy made us forget that because it became so money centered; it made us so selfish that we forgot to look over to see what’s happening to the rest of the world. So we are trying to open everyone’s love, and see that you can change the whole world for everybody, including yourself,” said Yunus, responding to the Era of Conscience movement.
Muhammad Yunus founded the Grameen Bank in 1983, a bank that is designed to provide loans to the people living in poverty attempting to relieve their economic conditions. Yunus explained how traditional banks in the past would not lend money to the poor, fearing the possibility that the poor would not pay back. As a result, Yunus founded the Grameen Bank that lends money to the people suffering in poverty at little to no interest rates. As of today, the bank has more than 8.3 million borrowers, with over 95% of the loans being paid back. His efforts to alleviate the suffering of the poor did not just end here. He further explained that in Bangladesh, his country, women were stuck in the belief that only men should be in control of the money. Hence, Yunus dedicated 6 years to correct such mindset in women in Bangladesh. This effort eventually led to 97% of the borrowers from the Gareem Bank being women.
As we marvel the works of Muhammad Yunus, let us not forget the symbolic meaning in his words. We are all humans despite our backgrounds and social statuses. Thus, we have the responsibility to care about everyone in the world. Indeed, our current economic model creates an endless cycle of poverty for the poor. In the 21st Century, the world is witnessing an ever growing wealth gap in many parts of the world. As of today, whether it is territorial dispute between countries or relentless exploitation of natural resources by businesses, the root of all these problems is our selfish heart.
As many of us seek material comforts and lifestyle satisfaction, we consequently ignore the welfare of others. Perhaps if we take time and discover the conscience side of us, we can begin to reflect on the decisions we make in daily life and evaluate our impact to the world. Everyone is the leader and guide of his/her own conscience. The key to unlocking the energy of peace is in everyone’s hand. Dr. Hong Tao-Tze, the initiator of the Era of Conscience movement, said, “Kind intentions and good hearts are the positive energies necessary to safeguard the earth’s sustainable development.”
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