Xiongning's Letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Winner Yunus

Miss Xiong Ning, 1978 to Mar 10, 2008, died in a traffic accident on her way to Qinghai to help the poor people there. Below is the translation of a draft letter in Chinese that she wrote to Professor Yunus, which was found among the belongings she left behind.

Dear Professor Muhammad Yunus,
Hello, how are you? First please forgive me if I take the liberty of writing this letter to you. I am a Chinese girl, named Xiongning, 29 years old this year, and born in an ordinary city intellectual family. Since I was young, I have had an ideal that I will set up the same “social conscience-oriented enterprise” as you advocated in Banker to the Poor.

During the period of my high school and college, I have been continuously attempting at my plan, and striving to put it into practice in order to start my own “social conscience-oriented enterprise” and have more grass-root people able to enjoy equal chances to survive and be free from poverty. For this reason I have ever stopped accepting a higher education; refused the work in the government departments arranged by a friend with authority; also resolutely given up the white-collar position in a foreign-invested enterprise, which everyone envies today in China. Perhaps many people think that I tend to go to extremes, but when I see the poor like me or even more outstanding than me, and the rural people, it is not known how much effort they will make, or even give up their dignity, and then can obtain the same opportunities as the rich and the city people. Since having known about you and Grameen Bank through your book Banker to the Poor, I have been deeply attracted by you and your undertakings. Also I have nothing but praise and admiration for your wisdom and ability from the depth of my soul. In the book I have seen my ideal, my role model and my teacher. Through your Excellency and the success of Grameen Bank, and all you have done for the poor in the continuous thirty years, I have been more determined to improve the living conditions of the poor and strive without cease for their human rights. But so far, I have encountered many obstacles, on one hand, because of my own limited capacity and on the other hand, due to other social causes. Therefore, I would like to seek for your help, and hope you can treat me as your student and give me some recommendations like my father generation. I do not know whether you have a deep understanding of China. China has a population of nearly 1.4 billion (of which 1 billion rural population). Taking my own experience, I have been unceasingly exploring and experimenting “social conscience-oriented enterprise”, but such enterprises have to compete in the market to make money, or at least maintain a balanced budget. Facing the fierce market competition, if I have chosen the “conscience”, it means more efforts needed to grasp the game rules of the market competition. As a Chinese, I love my country very much, and I shall “fight” like a soldier to change the status of China's poor people. Here I am wondering how I can start Chinese Grameen Bank under present national conditions, and how this Chinese Grameen Bank, like your Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, is not just a bank, but it can care about all aspects of the poor people. Let the poor find their dignity in labor; participate in social affairs equally; and create their own destinies through their own efforts. Would you please tell me whether Grameen Bank has ever have in the past or still have some projects now in China? What can I do in the future for Grameen Bank in China? Or can I work with you to start a Grameen Bank in China? I am an ordinary person, but my innate conscience spurs me on to live for my ideal (to help the poor and the suffering people); I have no power and influence, but I have a sense of social responsibility and mission; I am not an economist, but I am always striving to end the poverty and sufferings of the poor people. I sincerely hope to have your guidance and help. I hope that China is also to have Grameen Bank for the poor and of the poor. No matter what kind of countries, races, religions, as long as in this world, they are all eager for equality. But “poverty”, like a tiger (a stumbling block) in the way, is a lasting impediment to its realization. However, you Excellency and your Grameen Bank are coming, which has rekindled the hope of the numerous poor people for a better life; and had many entrepreneurs of a social conscience encouraged and learn the experience. You Excellency and your Grameen Bank are of no national boundaries, but the wealth and hope of the whole world and all human beings. You are also the role model for my life-long learning and efforts! Finally, please forgive me again if I take the liberty to trouble you. Fervently look forward to your reply!
Best wishes of health and happiness to your family!

Your new friend: Xiongning June 26, 2007

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