Sunday, March 28, 2010


"If you want to change the world, empower the women. Especially the grandmothers."

"Improve the condition of women, and you achieve real development. Men will squander their money on toys, drink and general peacockery. Women will improve the lives of their families and their communities.
Women will behave like adults."
-Silver Donald Cameron

The above statements were made by one of my favorite columnist Silver Donald Cameron who writes a weekly column for "The Nova Scotian", issued every Sunday as part of The Halifax Herald. He seldom disappoints, and his article entitled "Solar-powered grandmothers" in Sunday's March 21st edition was no exception. In it he writes about the positive effects of providing micro credit to women of poorer nations in order to train them to set up business for themselves that empower them to fight their way out of poverty and provide a better life for their families.

He describes how Muhammad Yunus built the Grameen Bank, in order to provide loans to women. The bank organized women into small borrowing circles, and made the group responsible for the loans of all its members. The loans were small, and the women used them to buy tools they needed, such as sewing machines. The default rate on the loans was practically zero, and the women used the tools to lever themselves and their children bodily out of poverty.

He also writes of of Bunker Roy, operator of the Barefoot College which
trains women from villages all over Asia and Africa, and how they successfully trained illiterate grandmothers in India to become solar engineers.

Why grandmothers...?
According to Roy, "Grandmothers are solid, sound, patient, willing to learn slowly, and they are rooted in the village.

And I agree.
it is the mothers and grandmothers of the world who are more self sacrificing. They will be the first to give up their share of food in order that their children do not go hungry, and I am not the only one who shares this view, as illustrated after the tragic earthquake in Haiti. It was shown that the most effective way to get food to the people who needed it most was to distribute it to the women. And if I were in the mood to do a little male bashing I would have to say, it also supports my theory that "men are basically stupid animals" and if you want something done well ladies, you do it yourself...but didn't hear that from me...

If you would like to read
"Solar-powered grandmothers" you can find it here. For more writings by Silver Donald Cameron you can check out his web site.

For more Sunday Citars, join our host Tabitha, at Fresh Mommy.


  1. Very interesting post. Thank you for sharing! Hooray for grandmothers! There is much wisdom, patience, strength and creativity in those smiling, comforting eyes.

  2. This was powerful stuff to read this Sunday morning Marisa. : ) Grandmothers and mothers are great sacrificers for sure.

  3. I love the story of the Grameen Bank....what an inspiration. There is a lot of female empowerment in this very thoughtful post.

  4. Delighted to see you picked this up!
    Silver Donald Cameron

  5. Thanks Silver Donald Cameron, you just made my day!
    Hubby and I are both big fans of yours. Your articles are our favorite part of the Sunday paper. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment on my little blog. :)

  6. Mom, while as a woman I like to think that this is true about my gender, how do explain the likes of Ann Coulter? :)

  7. Grace, there are exceptions to every rule. In all societies there is the village idiot, and you have to admit, she's really good at it.