Thirty years ago, Professor Muhammad Yunus left the classroom where he had been teaching economics and ventured out into the poor rural villages of his native Bangladesh. He wanted to discover what prevented these hardworking people from escaping poverty. In one village, Professor Yunus found that for a total of just $27, he could make life-changing loans to 40 women. Thus was born the idea of microcredit - giving very small loans to poor people to allow them to start successful businesses. Today, Professor Yunus directs the Grameen Bank, which has made microloans for income producing projects to millions of poor people, mainly women, enabling them to lift their families out of poverty. Together, Yunus and Grameen Bank were awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for their pioneering work.