By Jacqueline Novogratz
Thu 8 Apr 10
The Blue Sweater is a book that anyone interested in travel, adventure, philanthropy, micro-finance, community-outreach, and personal achievement will delight in. It's the true story of a woman who started her career in international banking, and wound up in Rwanda starting one of their first micro-finance banks there, among other projects to empower people stuck in the cycle of poverty, especially women, and enable them to build businesses and generate income and dignity. Eventually, she landed back in NYC and now runs Acumen Fund.
One reason this story is so incredible is because of Ms. Novogratz's theme woven throughout the book that accountability must be built into any philanthropic undertaking. Throughout the book, the reader sees her transform from a young person just learning, to an accomplished and experienced woman whose insights about how and why accountability needs to be a central focus of philanthropy and micro-finance are both eye-opening and inspiring.
Her accounts of her travels to Rwanda, India, and other places, paint remarkable images of both personal and collective triumphs and tragedies. Her story touches on life in Rwanda before and after the genocide, and how nothing in this world is truly black-or-white. Her determination and focus carry her from one great accomplishment to the next, and each step along her journey is an inspiration to anyone at any point along their own journey.
The book will inspire you to stay determined to achieve your goals, as well as to think more critically about the ripple effects of your actions, to learn details about philanthropy programs and how to be an active part in ensuring that philanthropy can be successful in both the short and long run.
This book is well written, and the subject matter is fascinating, educational, and eye-opening. It is all at once the story of living as an outsider, creating change as an insider, the personal struggles of women in Africa, the Rwandan community, the genocide, and the amazing power of humankind to overcome and perservere, and of some very extraordinary and innovative people in this world who are making incredible contributions - which are inspiring and evoke the feeling that we are all capable of contributing wonderful things to this world.
The Blue Sweater is available from Amazon.com.