People Who Mattered: Muhammad Yunus

A big idea sometimes starts out small. In 1974, after earning his Ph.D. in the U.S., Muhammad Yunus was teaching economics at Bangladesh's Chittagong University. When a deadly famine struck the country, Yunus, eager to lend a helping hand, paid off the money owed to loan sharks by a group of impoverished villagers struggling to survive; they should repay him, he said, "when they could." Eventually they did, but that was not the most significant aspect of the episode. While the total sum was only about $27, that a stranger would trust them with his cash gave the villagers an appreciation...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!