How ironic that in a city of a million weavers, almost no one owns more than one item of clothing. Grameen Check, a fabric production initiative formed by Grameen Bank just a couple of years ago will change all that. I first learned of Grameen’s founder, the Nobel Prize-winning economics professor and social visionary, Muhammed Yunus, when I picked up his audio book from the sale rack of Powell’s in Portland almost a year ago exactly. I was preparing to drive across the U.S. to relocate closer to family, and Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism was the only audio book out of seven that I could get to play in my car. Thankfully, I was riveted, enthralled and inspired for thousands of miles and couldn’t get his ideas out of my head. Over the next few months I tried unsuccessfully to develop first a kid-focused nutritious snack business (The Rawleigh Lama) and then a community healing arts center (Boylan Heights Healing Arts) in my new home base of Raleigh, North Carolina. A lack of finances, partnership, and simply the process of transitioning to my new life proved too many obstacles to overcome at this stage. So it is extra exciting to have become involved in Professor Yunus’ vision anyway, by winning the contest to design the next Grameen Check pattern. And in light of those fresh disappointments, it’s even more meaningful that the theme of the contest was “weaving hope.” I feel so honored to play some role in this incredible endeavor which is serving the world in a practical way and simultaneously changing so many lives for the better. And I am so inspired by the good people I have connected with in the process, such as Haruko Smith, who authored this introduction to Grameen Check as well as this insightful interview with Kazuhiko Yazaki, the president and CEO of Felissimo Corporation of Japan. Read these stories and realize how you can be part of a global culture of happiness. Then check out pics of the handbags that Felissimo is making out of the new Hope check fabric. And stay tuned for updates as the line launches in January.