The first article of Editor's Column is about the question I received the most since the WSO started.
“There are people in Australia who are struggling. Why do you support people in Bangladesh and Kenya who are far away?”
Originally, we were thinking about what we could do with the feeling that we wanted to support people in need. Of course, there were times when we seriously considered, "Who are the people in need in Australia where we live?" During that time, I came up with the idea that the Aborigines were having trouble with their lives.
However, when I did some research, I found out that Aboriginal people are receiving a lot of assistance and support from the Australian government. Putting aside the evaluation of historical issues, we came to the conclusion that there was not much we could do for the Aborigines, who are receiving a lot of support from the government.
In such a situation, I heard about a small loan called "microfinance" to improve poverty in the world. This is a financial way to help the poor devised by Professor Muhammad Yunus, who lives in Bangladesh. It was a small loan of about 10 dollars, advice on how to repay it, and a way to help escape from poverty.
Wanting to learn more about microfinance, I attended a one-week microfinance training in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bank employees also participated in the training, and it was a valuable experience to learn about concrete implementation methods. However, I also felt that there are aspects that are difficult for me to realise by training. That is, if you can't pay the interest on the money you borrowed, you also need to strictly collect the interest. Unfortunately, I didn't think this method was suitable for me, so I decided to give up.
However, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak with Prof. Yunus on the last day of the training.
I asked, "I am not suited to reduce world poverty through microfinance, but is there a better way?"
Prof. Yunus advised me that educational support might be a good way to reduce poverty. With that advice, the WSO's free scholarship program was born. Young people receive vocational training and graduate, become financially independent, support their families, and support their communities. As a result, the WSO aims to improve poverty in society as much as possible.