Interesting article here -

What Money Doesn't Buy: Microfinance and Women's Empowerment in South Asia

And an inspiring video by Apna TV CVU about Mangal Thorat, a former rag-picker from Bombay, who got an education and became a teacher. Now, since the lady has obviously understood the importance of having an education, she will make sure her children are educated. With an education, they will be more likely to get good jobs and so correspondingly their economic situation and their personal lives ought to improve.

We have such a success story in our own area. Our former domestic help, after her drunkard and wife-beater of a husband died, raised her three children by herself and insisted they all get an education. Now the eldest son works in a good position in a factory, the middle son runs a computer booth and the youngest daughter is about to graduate with a degree in Computer Science.

Education + Hard Work + Opportunity (and the sense to grab an opportunity when it comes) + Encouragement = Success

That's just the simple formula, of course.