Some of you will know that I am a big fan of Kiva, which is a non-profit organization that aims to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. I support them because I think empowering individuals to support themselves is one of the best ways we can really help those in need.
I just made my 14th loan, so thought I would do a little post about them in the hope that you like what you hear and maybe even consider joining them.
The key aspect of Kiva is that they facilitate your ability to help fund a worldwide network of microfinance institutions. Kiva works with these microfinance institutions to provide loans to people without access to traditional banking systems. And what’s more 100% of the amount you decide to loan is sent to these microfinance institutions, you can of course donate to Kiva’s running cost if you like, but you don’t have to.
The great thing is you get to select just who gets your money. You search profiles to help you decide, to me this is probably one of the most tangible aspects of this, I really do feel like I am making a difference to someone or their community, it is not some random donation that I hope ends up in the right hands.
My first ever loan was to someone from a small village in the Philippines. The recipient was 52 years old, married with six school-aged children. They run a sari-sari (variety) retail shop. The main source of income for the business comes from buying and selling daily-use products such as shampoo, soap, canned goods, snack foods and beverages in the local community. The recipient had been running the business for over five years and earns approximately $230 a month from it. The loan they were after was used to purchase additional products to sell like canned goods and beverages.
About 90% of my loans are made to women, I believe that if you empower women you improve a community, but each to his own.
Every loan I have made has either been paid back in full or is in the process of being paid back, and every penny I get back I re-lend, so the gift of giving just keeps on giving…
If you want to know me you can check them out here: http://www.kiva.org/