Ms. Xiong Ning (1978 - 2008) was a young lady in China who had dedicated her life to helping others. Unfortunately, she passed away in a terrible traffic accident on March 10, 2008, while on her way to Qinghai to help the poor people there. A letter she had written to Nobel Laureate Professor Yunus was found among the things that she left behind.
Ms. Xiong Ning with children at the Xi'an Orphanage in Shaanxi Province
Dear Professor Muhammad:
Greetings! How are you?
Firstly, please excuse me for taking the liberty to write this letter to you. My name is Xiong Ning. I am a 29-year old Chinese girl. I was born in an ordinary urban family in China. Both my parents are educated.
Since I was young, I had a dream that I will set up the same "socially conscience enterprise" as you advocated in your book Banker to the Poor. While in high school and university, I continuously tried to realize my dream of setting up my own "socially conscience enterprise" and give more people equal chances to survive and be free from poverty. Driven by my dream, I suspended pursuing a higher education, and turned down several highly admired and envied job opportunities, such as working as a government clerk arranged by a friend with powerful connections, or as white-collar staff in a multi-national company. Perhaps, many people may think that I'm too idealistic; but, there are so many poor people, farmers, and also those who are like me, or even less fortunate than me, who have to put in so much effort, which is unfathomable, and even give up their dignity, to have the same opportunities as the rich people and those who live in the cities.
Since learning about you and Grameen Bank through your book Banker to the Poor, I have been deeply attracted by your great career, works and achievements. I also have nothing but praise and admiration from the bottom of my heart for your wisdom and ability. In that book I have seen my dreams, my role model and my teacher.With your success and the success of Grameen Bank, and all that you have continuously done for the poor over the past 30 years, I have become even more determined to working to improve the living conditions of the poor and ceaselessly strive to ensure their human rights.
But so far, I have encountered many obstacles, due to, on one hand, my own personal limitations, and on the other hand, various social causes. Therefore, I would like to seek your help. I hope you can treat me as your student, and give me some advice as a dear parental advisor.
I do not know whether you have a deep understanding of China. China has a population of nearly 1.4 billion (of which 1 billion live in rural areas).
I can share with you my experience of experimenting with trying to set up "socially conscience enterprise." I know that to ensure the enterprise's sustainability, it is must be competitive in the market-place and be profitable, or at least break even. Staring at the fierce competition, I chose "consciousness," meaning that I have to work much harder to understand and master the game and rules of the market, so that I can stand still in the face of stiff competition.
As a Chinese person, I love my country very much, and I will fight like a soldier to change the status of the poor people in China.
I am wondering how I can start a Grameen Bank in China under the present national conditions. How can this "Chinese Grameen Bank" be developed, like your Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, not only as a bank, but also to care and help the poor people? It would help the poor people find dignity from their work, to participate equally in social affairs, and create their own destinies through their own efforts. I wonder if Grameen has done some projects in China. Is it possible that I can do something for Grameen Bank in China, maybe even jointly establish a Chinese Grameen Bank?
I am an ordinary person, but my innate conscience spurs me on to live for my ideal: to help the poor and the suffering people. I have no power and influence, but I have a sense of social responsibility and mission. I am not an economist, but I am always striving to end the poverty and sufferings of the poor people.
I sincerely hope to have your guidance and help. I sincerely hope that there will be a Grameen Bank in China; which will be for the poor and of the poor. All people strive for equality regardless of nationality, race, or religion. But poverty is like a tiger that is blocking the way to all hope and equality. But you and Grameen Bank have reignited the light of hope for numerous poor people, encouraged and educated many entrepreneurs who have social consciousness. You and Grameen Bank are of no national boundaries, but the wealth and hope of the whole world and all human beings. You are also the role model for my life-long learning and efforts!
Once again, please excuse me for taking your time. I look forward to hear from you!
My best wishes to you and your family.
Your new friend,
June 26, 2007