Ayesha Abbasi was an intern on Grameen Foundation’s Marketing and Communications team from August through November of this year. A senior at American University's Kogod School of Business, Ayesha wrote this blog post as she was preparing to graduate in December.
As I walked into the Grameen Foundation office in Washington, DC on my first day back in August, I remember being captivated by the vibrant images of microfinance borrowers from around the globe. One by one, I closely examined the portraits hanging on the walls, trying to understand the relationship between the organization and these individuals with smiles of satisfaction on their faces. Now, having been at Grameen Foundation for more than three months, I am not only aware, but wholeheartedly passionate, about the organization’s noble influence in underprivileged communities around the world. My role as the Marketing and Communications Intern this semester has been a rewarding experience through which I’ve gained invaluable insights into the microfinance sector. Despite its challenges and complexities, the underlying principle of microfinance – channeling small amounts of funds to those who can put it to a productive use and thereby achieve a better economic and social condition –continues to make it extraordinary way of helping the poor. Through its innovative, strategic approach of reaching the poorest of the poor, Grameen Foundation is creating a positive ripple effect of microfinance’s benefits in diverse regions. While doing research and writing stories, I learned that the organization’s work goes above and beyond fostering entrepreneurial spirits among the poor. It’s amazing how, despite their harsh situations, these poor individuals maintain a positive attitude, dedicated work ethic, and willingness and desire to be entrepreneurs who think outside the box. All they need is an opportunity – a chance that Grameen Foundation and its partners provide – to take their ideas and turn them into action. In a global society that is becoming increasingly competitive and beset with economic disparities, the presence of institutions such as Grameen Foundation and its microfinance partners helps to eradicate inequalities by enabling the poor to advance. So how does Grameen Foundation empower the poorest of the poor? Through my time here, I find it is the passionate employees and unique organizational culture that make this possible. Grameen Foundation is a dynamic, fluid organization with free-flowing ideas and collaboration between all individuals, who are dedicated to providing the poor with access to small loans, vital information, and viable business opportunities. All staff members work collectively to achieve the mission of alleviating worldwide poverty. While supporting the Marketing department, I have come to truly understand the Grameen Foundation brand and align myself with its core values and mission. Having come to the end of my internship, I am so grateful for all the new knowledge I have gained by contributing to Grameen Foundation’s microfinance- and technology-focused initiatives.