Sign your name

Signatures are disappearing. We are now our passwords.

Yet most Grameen women when they join the bank cannot sign their names.  Part of the Grameen training is to teach members how to do this simple thing, how to make their mark.  This moment is the point of contact between the unwritten and unread world of the village and the well read and thoroughly written world of Grameen.  Even centre managers must have finished school and many have degrees.  Virtually all branch managers have ‘a masters’, after four or five years of education.

The signature marks the chasm and the hope.  From illiteracy, as from purdah, as from poverty, I write my first step, I declare my name, I enter your books, I exist in the written world.  In tin sheds, all over Bangladesh, this moment happens every day. On paper, in a small pass book, hands repeat their name, in Bangla letters, and new names are learnt, new marks made.  Every day.

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