Sai Honig, 2nd from left, with Grameen Foundation IT staff
Five years ago, Sai Honig broke down crying as she read Muhammed Yunus' book, Banker to the Poor. The book hit close to home for her.
Born in India, Sai was raised in the U.S. from a very early age. She knew very little about the place of her birth, but was aware of the extreme poverty and had wrestled with the question of how she could make a dent in a problem as big as global poverty. Professor Yunus' ideas inspired her to somehow get involved.
She first tried to work with an organization that assisted small entrepreneurs in her local community in Tucson, Arizona. Her skills, however, did not match their needs.
She learned about Grameen Foundation, after seeing a link to it on the Grameen Bank. That led her to Bankers without Borders,® Grameen Foundation's initiative to connect skilled professionals with poverty-focused organizations around the world. She was certain that her background in information technology and business governance could enable organizations to help more poor people transform their lives.
Though Bankers without Borders has placed volunteers at more than 100 organizations around the world, Grameen Foundation turned out to be the best match for Sai, who has helped large companies conduct internal audits for the past 12 years. Our teams are located in the communities we serve around the world, making our technology network a critical part of how we communicate and do our work.
“We are committed to helping poor people reach their potential and technology plays a huge role in supporting that mission, said Khuloud Odeh, Grameen Foundation’s Director of Information Technology. “Sai’s professional experience, passion and dedication were truly remarkable.”
Sai worked with our IT and finance teams to develop operational and risk management processes and tools that could be easily used by our field staff. She is also helping the IT department to streamline its processes and strengthen the support it provides to our local teams.
“My weekly meeting with Grameen Foundation was the best part of my week!”
A graduate of Thunderbird School of Global Management, Sai is now studying for certifications in information security and cloud security.
“I was encouraged to pursue these certifications because of Grameen Foundation’s use of cloud and mobile technology. It really underscored how these tools can help international development organizations,” she said.
Sai has already made a big contribution to improving the effectiveness of Grameen Foundation’s operations and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
“The time commitment was actually not that demanding and I started to look forward to my weekly meeting with Grameen Foundation as the best part of my week,” she said.
Earlier this year, Sai was surprised to receive a Presidential Service Award – with a letter from President Barack Obama – in recognition of her work with Grameen Foundation.
She enjoys speaking about poverty elimination and Grameen Foundation – and has even printed her own cards to help share her experience with others.
“I wanted to tell people about what I was involved in, and hand them something with more information, so they could get involved too.”