I’m scouting for a new one-hour public television special about hunger, poverty, and hope — and Guatemala is a great place to learn about development.
Near the dreamy Lake Atitlán, I traveled to a little village with Friendship Bridge, an American NGO dedicated to helping local women help themselves through microlending. And I saw what happens when hardworking people, struggling in the poor world, get a little capital to start a business. Within months, they are typically up and running, and able pay off their loans (usually a couple hundred dollars). That money can then be recycled to another entrepreneur, kick-starting another family business. The mark of success for a caring organization like Friendship Bridge is how many former clients they have — now debt-free and independent, thanks to that microloan.
In this clip, we see examples of microlending, diversity farming, and the value of education and child nutrition — as well as the importance of remittances, which are sent home from migrant workers doing work in the USA that wealthy Americans don’t want to do. Development requires lots of moving parts and lots of caring people.