You’ve probably heard of microfinancing before. And probably of Kiva, too. But come with me if you will, for the next three minutes or so, on a little tour that culminates in a free opportunity to do good in the world.
About 18 months ago, in one of the very first posts on this blog, I shared about Kiva, an organization who matches lenders from the first world with borrowers in the developing world to help them do everything from start businesses to marry-off children (very important in cultures where such unions will define the future of entire families).
Upon reading that post, my friend Samantha commented that she’d wished I’d included some life in the post by sharing realities behind these loans. And she’s right, I should have done that. Because behind the insanely-easy-to-help platform that is Kiva are human beings whose lives are changing because of the opportunities afforded them through microloans.
Since I’ve been on Kiva (a little over 2 years now), I’ve left my money in my “account” to re-loan as it’s paid back. I’ve effectively loaned over $1,100 in loans, more than 4 times the amount I’ve ever deposited in my Kiva “account.”
Counting only loans that have been repaid in full, my “porfolio” (as they call it) helped Sameil in Rwanda grow his clothing business and send his own children to school, it helped Belinda, a Ghanian girl with no high school education, grow her foodstuffs business and send her own children to school, and helped 27 others do similarly.
What’s not to love about not spending a dime but making it possible for other parents to send their children to school (which keeps the kids off the street and, in most cases, changes their future options significantly)?
And besides all of that, it’s eye-opening and fascinating to read of these lives from around the world. Olonbayar of Mongolia lives in a traditional felt tent but – don’t miss this – runs his own public transportation business.
Doesn’t that sound like living with your tribe without running water but flying an airplane for a living? (Incidentally, I know that guy; I’ll try to introduce you one of these days.)
You’ve no doubt heard the English proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Well, what if that man can fish but has no coins for a net or a line or a hook? And we, those with money for movies and sporting events and cars manufactured in the past decade, can give that man some coins and then get them back again?
Why would we not do that? No, really. Why would we not do that?
For a limited time, an anonymous donor will give you and me $25 to loan to Kiva borrowers if you try it out via this link. Then, when you invite others, the same holds true. So invite a friend, will you?
This post is part of this month’s humanity series.