One of Camphor’s comments made me curious. His point was, start with small acts, and big changes will happen. I wanted to believe him, and I also wanted more supporting evidence. Had there been some studies? Could history teach us? For all the other skeptics, I thought I would share the results of my investigation. I did not find any study, but two stories instead. The first one is well known. It is the story of Rosa Park, whose simple act of defiance initiated sweeping social changes in the American racial landscape. The second story is about Muhammad Yunus, last year Nobel Peace prize winner. The founder of Grameen Bank, he pioneered the idea of micro loans in third world countries. Of greatest interest to me was to learn how he got started. In 1974, while working as a professor at the University of Chittagong, in his native country of Bengladesh, Muhammad was moved by widespread famine to loan $27 dollars of his own money to a group of 43 families so they could create small items for sale without having to depend on predatory lending institutions. The quick repayment of the loan and the success of the families inspired him to develop a test project that he called the Grameen Bank, meaning the bank of the villages. Loaning to small groups, rather than individuals, the bank’s success was astonishing and quickly spread throughout the country. In both cases, they followed their heart. No grandiose plan, no will to make big changes. Simply, what was called for in the moment.
Small acts, big changes? You bet.