ART FOR HER SAKE PRODUCTIONS, LLC

An Upside Down Banker

The Upside Down Banker
A Synopsis by Jacki Lippman and Vivian Norris

Poverty knows no borders, and shows no mercy.  Ultimately, it is the arch villain behind nearly all of the world’s horrors – terrorism, war, famine, human trafficking, religious extremism, environmental devastation and the rampant spread of disease to name just the headliners of the nightly news.    

Our story begins in 2008 with the global financial crisis, which among other things, caused millions of members of the middle class to lose their savings, their homes and their jobs, plummeting them into extreme poverty.   

But in the midst of the collapse of conventional banking, organizations that were offering tiny, collateral-free loans to the poorest of the poor were thriving.  These are the Upside Down Bankers, mostly women, mostly the poorest of the poor, rising up, bottom of the pyramid…creating the sustainable economy of the future.

This upside down banking will enable hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest women and their families to lift themselves out of poverty with dignity.  It will create passionate supporters around the world who dedicate their lives to helping these women help themselves.  One of these supporters, Stanley Ann Dunham, realizes that her own life as a single mother, half a world away from her native land, will allow her to raise her child to deeply understand how to implement real change and better the lives of others.  It will also bring its creator, Muhammad Yunus, to Oslo as the 2006 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.   This empathy-based movement comes into its own as we move towards a more morally sane economy which works for the majority, not for the one percent.

So who are these women and how did Muhammad Yunus come to be the catalyst for so many millions of them taking control of their futures?

To find out, we go back in time to the aftermath of Bangladesh War of Independence in 1972, which birthed a country but left its citizens to struggle and die in acute poverty, amidst one of the worst famines of the 20th century.  Here we will see the origins of the microcredit movement through the eyes of Stanley Ann Dunham, a bold young American woman of the 1970’s and Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi economist who turned the concept of banking upside down by only offering loans to the poorest women.  A single mother, Ann leaves behind the safety of middle class America to live in the developing world and pursue a PhD in Anthropology.  Bangladesh, where she meets Selma Begum, a desperately poor young single mother, who will become one of Grameen Bank’s first borrowers.  

Selma, married off by her parents at 14 to an older man of 30, is the same age as Ann when we meet her. She has a young daughter and has been abandoned by her husband for her failure to produce sons.  She lives in a shed with her in-laws’ cow and receives a small amount of rice and some milk each day in exchange for tending the cow.  She has started to make small woven stools in the hopes that she can earn enough money to take better care of herself and her daughter.


Our story will leap ahead 20 years to the oilfields of Lagos, Nigeria, where millions of the world’s poorest people struggle to make a living, risking their lives on the brink of catastrophe everyday.  When a pipeline explodes, the resulting death and devastation will propel one young girl, Malak Okafor, onto a new path and a more promising future.

The lives of several of the poorest women in the world are interwoven in stories of courage, humor and accomplishment as they lift themselves out of poverty with dignity.    But there are also greedy loan sharks and Wall Street lenders who are driven solely by profit, no matter how many suffer so that they may live in surreal surroundings of the wealthiest of the wealthy…we see these worlds collide, juxtaposed.  Greed ultimately does not pay, and it is only by being caught and serving time that the Banker in this story turns his own life around and discovers that by helping others, he creates deep happiness for his own life.


In Nigeria, Ann meets Malak, raised in extreme poverty among the deadly oilfields of Lagos, Nigeria.  Malak’s family, like so many others in town, work for the multinational oil company that has taken over the area.  There is only enough money for one child to go to school, and her parents naturally choose to their son.  Tragedy strikes, and Malak’s beloved brother is killed in an oil explosion.  Now, 14 year old Malak can go to school.  Brokenhearted at the loss of her brother, Malak is fully aware of the burden she now bear as her family’s only hope for a brighter future.  Despite excelling in school, her prospects are slim as there is little work for a woman She will become the first cell phone business owner at the Nigerian microcredit program, DEC, and will later achieve great things as a leader in the field of solar energy for the poor.

Cherie Menard and her husband Paul are victims of Hurricane Katrina.  The first in their families to go to college, Cherie and Paul are high school teachers and struggle to pay off enormous student loans and put food on the table.  With no financial safety net, the Menards lose everything in the murky waters of a flooded New Orleans.  They are also a bi-racial couple and witness firsthand the way in which the poor African American community is treated in this time of emergency.  Thanks to access to a microloan from KIVA, Cherie is able to start a new and innovative learning center – a mobile “bus” school – and will become a leader in the field of learning for at risk youth.

Selma and Malak will break from chronic, acute poverty to become the first financially self-reliant generation of women in a world where women have always been treated like second class citizens.  Cherie and Paul will step out of the shadow of a broken infrastructure and take their future into their own hands. 

Ann will become a leader in her own right in the field of banking for the poor. Ann’s son, inspired by the people who make up the fabric of his youth, grows up to be a champion of social justice and eventually becomes the first African American President of the United States, Barack Obama. And that Bangladeshi academic?  Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Muhammad Yunus. 

A feast for the ears as well as the eyes, our story is set to the soundtrack of the Concert for Bangladesh, featuring George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ravi Shankar and many others.  Songs include, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “My Sweet Lord,” and “It Don’t Come Easy,” and “Here Comes the Sun.”

From Bangladesh to Nigeria to New Orleans, these women, each an Upside Down Banker, will make us see new possibilities for ending poverty in our lifetime.  Against a backdrop of corruption and greed, a new economy is created, one which helps all of us to understand that “We” are another “Yourself.”

Based on many true stories.

  

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This area is 100% editable and you can use it to say whatever you wish to your website visitors. All the images are fully editable so you can add your own to customize each page.

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This area can be fully edited and gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself, your website or company, your products or services. Remember to keep your wording friendly, approachable and easy to understand, as if you were talking to your customers face to face.
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This area is 100% editable and you can use it to say whatever you wish to your website visitors. All the images are fully editable so you can add your own to customize each page. If you have any questions, please visit our Support Center where we have lots of helpful articles that will assist you in creating the website of your dreams! This area can be fully edited and gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself, your website or company, your products or services.
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This area is 100% editable and you can use it to say whatever you wish to your website visitors. All the images are fully editable so you can add your own to customize each page. If you have any questions, please visit our Support Center where we have lots of helpful articles that will assist you in creating the website of your dreams! This area can be fully edited and gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself, your website or company, your products or services.