Muhammad Yunus started the Grameen Bank in 1974.
And he started it with just 27 dollars.
In 1974 Yunus met a woman named Sufia.
She was a 21-year-old mother of three children.
She made seats from bamboo wood to make money.
Yunus could tell Sufia worked very hard with her hands.
They had many marks on them.
But, Sufia was poor, even though she worked hard.
One day, Yunus asked Sufia how much money she made from each seat.
Sufia told Yunus that she borrowed nine cents to buy the bamboo to make each seat.
After she sold a bamboo seat, she had to pay back the money she borrowed, with a very high interest.
In the end, Sufia only made two cents for each seat she sold.
She worked very hard for very little money.
Yunus could not believe it.
He said “My goodness, for nine cents she has become a slave!”
The next day Yunus went into Sufia’s village.
He asked the village women how much money they had.
Yunus discovered that together, 43 of the village women had no money.
In fact, together they owed a total of 27 dollars.
Yunus said “I could not take it anymore.
I put the 27 dollars out there and told them they could free themselves.”
Yunus paid the women’s debt of 27 dollars.
He told them they could repay him whenever they could.
Yunus wanted the women to be in control of their own money.
Yunus hoped they would use the money to buy materials to make goods to sell.
When they had enough money the women could pay Yunus back.
And Yunus hoped that they would be able to continue selling their goods without having to borrow more money.