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Ever dreamt of leaving Kuwait?

  • i’m sure most of the people in Kuwait dream of doing that, even as half the bloody world dreams of coming to work here believeing that the streets are paved with gold.

  • perhaps the most eager to leave are the native kuwaiti’s themselves,…. how else would you explain the mass exodus that occurs everytime theres a vacation of more than 48 hours?

  • the problem that most peole face, myself included, is that ok so you leave for greener pastures ( literally greener in many cases),… but then what do you do to earn a living?

  • it is easy to make a decent amount of money here. and its easy because all you really have to do is put in 100% effort and brains since the vast majority of both locals and expats only ever give 50%.

  • add to that the fact that there are no taxes and the relatively cheap living expenses, and anyone would be hard pressed to find somewhere better, if those are the only factors that determine your happiness. in most cases its not.

  • thinking about going home, or going elsewhere which would be the case for the kuwaitis, the fundamental question would be one of earning a living,….. what are you to do? open a middle eastern cafe and sell hummous and shisha? the sheer amount of capital involved in that is freightening, and thats even before you find out if your idea will work or not.

  • while alot of us do have transferable skills, the old saying of you are the company you keep means that in most cases both we the expats and the kuwaitis are not really as competitive on the open global market as we would like to think.

  • you get soft when everyone else around you is soft, even tho you think youre still more hardcore.

  • so what do you do?

  • the one edge that we all have in common is decent access to financing, whether it involves unlocking the value of your home back home, or having a decent limit on your credit card. and while that might not seem like a big deal, believe me it is.

  • muhammad yunus is the guy that recently won the nobel peace prize for his pioneering work in the fight against poverty. and he did it in a pretty simple way.

  • he found that the poor are not poor because theyre lazy, infact the majority of the worlds poor work 18 hour days just to be able to earnUS$2 a day for food. alot of them are skilled farmers or craftsmen, many producing the food that you eat and those shitty plastic lawn chairs you get in sultan centre.

  • their problem comes from the lack of adequate capital, and their own people’s extortionate lending rates. infact, its not the global companies that are sucking the money from the poor but rather the local money lenders that charge rates as high as 10% a day on loans of as little as US$27. ( so all you anti-globalisation bitches suck on that ๐Ÿ˜€ ).

  • half the time they have no choice but to take those crazy loans because decent banks wont lend money to people with no assets other than their hands and the knowledge in their heads. and 99% of the time theyre working today to be able to eat today.

  • yunus figured that by lending them $27 the poor would actually be able to pay off their previous extortion debts, and be able to buy raw materials for their work. amazingly, less than KD10 managed to increase their earnings by about 200%, simply due to a lack of stupid interest rates.
  • the beauty of this system is that unlike charities, this simply aint a charity.

  • charities are unsustainable by definition.

  • grameen bank charges about 25% on the loan. the 25% is used to cover the cost of going out to the village and working with the villagers to develop their business ideas, and a portion goes back into grameen bank’s reserve for other poor people.

  • it basically works like this:

  • they target women, in poor villages, $2 a day poor, who probably have kids, whose husbands are probably in some whore house in the city drinking and fucking away, or whose husbands have already divorced them for whatever reason. they are then told to get 4-5 other women from their village who will join the venture.

  • this communal aspect ensures that if one person cant make the payment, then this week the others will cover her part, and she will settle it with the group at her convenience. and since you all live in the same village the communal aspect also ensures that theres little if no cheating going on. payments are made to the grameen bank worker, out in the open air with everyone counting the money that gets paid. so even tho they might be illiterate, or numerically illiterate they still know how much is going where when it comes to the money they pay every week.

  • so far they have a repayment rate of 97%. that means that 97% of the loans made were paid back. i defy anyone to find a group of college educated professionals who have that high a repayment rate.

  • compared to these “peasants”, professionals are deadbeats.

  • why? how comes?

  • its quite simple really.

  • they know that this is probably going to be their one and only chance to get out of the poverty that they suffer. they know that if they mess up this time around, then there really is no hope, so they pour every iota of energy into making their business a success and repaying their loan.

  • they also know that if that one sewing machine / grinding machine / rickshaw / telephone line manages to pay back the loan, the bank will be more than happy to lend them more next time.

  • it is essentially profit driven, and anyone that thinks theres something wrong with that should remind themselves of the fall of communism.

  • the poor start earning a proper living, and the bank generates enough profits to sustain itself and therefore lend more and more thereby helping more people.
  • so how does that apply to you thinking of leaving for home/greener pastures?

  • no matter where you dream of going, there will be poor people who need your help. microcredit schemes are running in places like chittagong and new delhi as well as new york and washington dc.

  • all you really need is about KD1,000 to set aside, and a ride down to the poorest neighbourhood of your dream destination. that KD1,000 can be broken down into 10 – 100 loans depending on which part of the world you live in.

  • and charging around 25% ensures that you have a sustainable business that will feed and clothe your family, as well as help alleviate the suffering of the poor in a meaningful manner.

  • the important thing to remember is that the 25% is not annually. they dont need one year to repay you and the idea is not to keep them indebted to you. the banks give you a year or more cos they want your business. in this case, you want them to repay you asap so they can begin to make a living repayment free.

  • repayments start one week later, and because its relatively small amounts youre more likely to be repaid than say if you lent your best friend KD500 and said pay me in one year.

  • the bastard would probably spend the next 11 months trying to dodge you on the street when he sees you comeing.

  • its definately not a job for the fainthearted, cos it’ll probably involve you personally going into the rural slums, the ghettoes or even out into the rainforrest because that is where the really poor are. and dont worry about banks jumping onto the bandwagon, they wont even think of touching the really needy.
  • even if youre not thinking of going anywhere, there are single mother poor women here in abbasiya and jleeb, and kuwait/badu in jahra. granted 90% of them you’ll class as useless, but there will be one group of women that turn your heart.

  • handouts have never worked, and the british, american, japanese, kuwaiti welfare system is ample proof of that.

  • charities dont work cos they wind up spending more time trying to feed the guests and themselves at “charity” dinners than they do trying to feed the poor.

  • personally i have never believed in charity organisations. 2/3’s of your money gets spent on “admin” and youre lucky if the last third even makes it into the starving nation of zimbabwe before some beaurocrat siphons it off into his swiss bank account.

  • someone once said greed is good.

  • ironic how greed ie the profit motive might actually be the thing that successfully alleviates world poverty.
  • if you want to know more check out these youtube videos ( umm yeah still dunno how to embed ๐Ÿ˜› ) on the microcredit concept:
  • theres a whole bunch more on youtube, and definately check out the book.
  • oh and of course go here:

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3 Comments

  1. I’m a big believer in micro credit. I’ve seen it work.

  2. it is pretty damn amazing and i’m only half way thru his book.
    its somethnig i thought of doing in iraq and malaysia and the philippines before i knew what i was so its great reading about how to go about it.

  3. It’s a very interesting concept but is it legal? I mean in a country like France?


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