Program turns beggars into successful entrepreneurs

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Updated 31 May 2014
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Program turns beggars into successful entrepreneurs

Islamic micro-finance, which is based on profit-sharing and does not charge interest, can play a significant role in alleviating poverty and transforming the poor into successful entrepreneurs, said Mamoon Al-Azami, a senior community development specialist at the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
“Nobel Laureate Mohammed Yunus introduced a new type of micro-finance through his Grameen Bank, inspired by IDB President Ahmed Mohammed Ali,” he said.
“The initiative was aimed at turning beggars into salespersons. He gave them toys and other merchandise worth $5 to $10 and told them to sell them. It was a big success,” he said, while launching a seminar organized by the Indian Forum for Interest-Free Banking (IFIB).
When Grameen launched its beggar-lending project, Yunus expected 1,000 or so beggars to participate, but 100,000 joined almost immediately and within two years, more than 25,000 stopped begging completely after becoming successful door-to-door salespersons.
“The project not only helped in protecting the honor of these people, but also made them self-reliable,” he said.
In his keynote speech, Al-Azami told community leaders to work together to improve the condition of their societies instead of depending on others, including governments and politicians.
He emphasized the role of Islamic finance in strengthening real economy.
“Islam has encouraged lending, not to make money through interest, but to enhance social cooperation, cohesion and harmony.”
V.K. Abdul Aziz, secretary-general of IFIB, gave a presentation on the participatory micro-finance scheme.
“It offers financial services to people who are denied access to the financial market and empowers people who can pursue projects with their own resources, and who lack assistance, subsidies and dependence.”
“It provides financial services to those who are traditionally non-bankable, mainly because they lack guarantees against a loss risk,” he said.
In the spirit of Islam that goes beyond mere profitability, this new financial system aims to maximize social benefits as opposed to profit maximization, said Aziz, a researcher on Islamic banking and finance.
“Micro-finance is a very flexible tool whose models can be replicated, but must be tailored on local socio-economic and cultural characteristics,” he said.
Speaking about IFIB’s goat farming project in Kerala, S. Mammu, a barrister and social worker, said it would not only solve the financial problems of the poor farmers, but also help investors make profit.
Under the pilot project, five goats each have been given to 50 families regardless of their religions worth a total investment of Rs1.2 million.
The beneficiaries will return three goats and their kids to the facilitator, who will sell them at local market price and distribute 33 percent of the profit to the financier, 33 percent to the farmer, 23 percent to management and 11 percent to the monitoring committee.


MiSK, Qiddiya team up for internship program 

Updated 25 March 2019
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MiSK, Qiddiya team up for internship program 

  • Interns will work on entertainment mega-project
  • Program open to university seniors and new graduates

RIYADH: A new internship program for young Saudis has been launched in the Kingdom, following a partnership between Misk Foundation and the Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC).

The program runs from June 16 to Aug. 31, 2019, and provides an opportunity for university seniors and recent graduates to be part of Qiddiya, an entertainment mega-project located 40 minutes from Riyadh.

Interns will have the chance to work at Qiddiya’s corporate offices alongside professionals from around the world and will be placed across 12 departments.

They will learn and develop skills that are required to succeed in their professional lives.

They will also gain exposure to QIC’s culture and learn from executives with over 20 years of experience across several sectors. 

QIC CEO Mike Reininger said: “We are contributing directly to the Saudi Vision (2030 reform plan) by creating a richer lifestyle for Saudi citizens while spurring innovation in the creative, hospitality and entertainment sectors. This unique opportunity allows students and fresh graduates to experience what it takes to be part of the change in Saudi by giving them the chance to work alongside a group of both local and international seasoned professionals. Thanks to this partnership with MiSK, we will be training the next generation of industry leaders.” 

Application to the program is open for those with fewer than two years of professional experience. Candidates must show strong academic credentials and submit a short video as part of their application.

King Salman led the Qiddiya ground-breaking ceremony in front of a global audience last April.

The project is aimed at helping to stem the $30 billion a year which Saudis currently spend abroad on tourism, and has the backing of the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund.

It targets local, regional and international tourists and will be Saudi Arabia’s preeminent entertainment, sports and cultural destination.

It is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, with a total area of 334 square kilometers, surpassing Walt Disney World in Florida, which is only 110 sq. km.