Friday, November 23, 2007

Getting More Than You Give ...

I don't shop on Black Friday. All the craziness, all the crowds, all the clammoring, and for what? To save $10 on a blender? No thank you.

But as I'm getting ready to start spending on the holidays (only 31 more shopping days until Christmas), I thought I'd give my credit card a warm up by doing a good deed.

I heard about Kiva.org several months ago and I meant to become a member lender, but, as with so many things, I didn't do it right away, and then I forgot about it.

Until today, when I read my friend Steff's blog post about her contribution.

Steff does a great job of explaining Kiva, so I'll just quote her here:

The principle of it is this: You take a small amount of money -- anything between $25 and 500 -- and you LOAN it to someone to start their dream business. It's a loan, not a gift, and more than 99% of the loans are repaid.

You log on, choose entrepreneurs from a region of the world you're interested in helping, do your donation, and wait and see as it all comes to life. You get repaid monthly, and you can either take the money back or use it as "Kiva credit" to keep the ball rolling by helping someone new.

There are those who believe small programs like this are how we're going to change poverty in our world. I signed up and helped begin changing someone's life in less than three minutes.


So today, I loaned $25 to Try Roeun in Cambodia, who sells rice in her community, and $25 to Ato Alesana in Samoa, who is requesting a loan to open a barbeque business. Ato requested $300. I'm happy to report that my contribution to her venture has fulfilled her request. And now that I revisit Try's page, it appears that she's met her goal, as well.

There are many more people, though, in all parts of the world who need just a few dollars to help them get started on the path to better life.

When you become a member of Kiva, you can create a Lender page and tell people a little more about yourself. One of the fields on the page is "I loan because:", in which I wrote: "... while I am not wealthy monetarily, I have been blessed with a rich life. The least I can do is loan a few dollars to someone who is trying to begin or grow a business. They inspire me. And, selfishly, it makes me feel good to do something for someone else."

You can upload a picture of yourself or not (or you can remain anonymous all together). I uploaded a picture. Each of the profiles of people seeking loans features a picture. It just seemed right that they should be able to put faces with the names of the people who are helping them realize their dreams.

I encourage you to visit Kiva.org. If you have a few dollars to spare, a small loan can make a big difference.

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4 Comments:

Blogger J. Marquis said...

Great idea. These loan programs are amazing.

8:29 AM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

By the way, you've been tagged. Check out my blog for your instructions...

8:59 AM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I hate Black Friday, too. But that might be because I hate shopping. Anyhow, Kiva sounds like a good idea, a good way to help others. I'll have to check it out.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Ashok said...

Looks Interesting. Need to check it out. The One Laptop Per Child is very interesting project too.

2:36 PM  

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