Monday, March 17, 2008

Giving Home

From the New York Times --

"An important man from the World Bank recently arrived in this
isolated village, where monkeys prowl rutted roads, rain pours through
the school roof and the native son who achieved the most did so by
going away.

On a visit to his home last month, Dilip Ratha walked through fields
toward his father's farmland near Sindhekela.
Lessons about global poverty were waiting, but so were his sisters'
chapattis. Migrant and migration scholar, Dilip Ratha was home.

No one has done more than Mr. Ratha to make migration and its
potential rewards a top-of-the-agenda concern in the world's
development ministries. And no place has done more to shape his views
than this forgotten hamlet, where he studied under the lone
streetlight and began a poor boy's improbable journey to the front
ranks of an elite field.

"When I think about the effects of migration, I think about
Sindhekela," he said.

Working from his office in Washington five years ago, Mr. Ratha
produced the first global tally of remittances, the money that
migrants send home, and stunned experts from himself on down with the
discovery of their size. Gathered from a trickle of hard-earned cash,
the sums now exceed $300 billion a year.

In subsequent work, Mr. Ratha, 45, has pushed to reduce money-transfer
fees and increase the productivity of the money that is sent. Allies
say his work has prompted projects in governments and beyond that
could benefit millions of people. Skeptics argue that if migration
brought development, Mexico would be Switzerland."

Read the full article at --

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