July last year I wrote a post about Kiva: an organisation dedicated to alleviating poverty via micro-loans. That is to say, that instead of digging a few gold coins out of my purse and depositing it in a bucket for a faceless cause, I used my credit card to loan Maria Espinoza, a magazine retailer in El Alto, Bolivia $25 so she could expand her business. I was one of 10 people who were able to provide Maria a mico-loan that she wasn't able to get from the bank, so she could expand her business, earn more, and provide for her family. This week, she paid off her loan in full. And my $25 was returned to me.
I looked through Kiva, and honestly, the number of people whose lives could be made a little more self-sufficient, a little brighter by not a donation, but a LOAN was phenomenal. And I like the idea that I could help someone be a little bit self-sufficent. Giving a man a fish and all that.
So, I used the $25 that was returned to me to help another person. Meet Rebecca, from Koforidua, Ghana.
She's 35 years old, with two school-aged kids. She runs a roadside grocery store and has done so for the last 4 years. With the Kiva loan, she hopes to expand her business.
It actually blows my mind that she runs a roadside grocery store. On the side of the road. Different places, different people, different customs. I think it's really amazing, and I was more than happy to help, where I could.
If you're interested in helping out someone yourself, please check out Kiva. I've added some additional information on how Kiva works, just in case you were curious. :)
Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.
1) Lenders like you browse profiles of entrepreneurs in need, and choose someone to lend to. When they lend, using PayPal or their credit cards, Kiva collects the funds and then passes them along to one of our microfinance partners worldwide.
2) Kiva's microfinance partners distribute the loan funds to the selected entrepreneur. Often, our partners also provide training and other assistance to maximize the entrepreneur's chances of success.
3) Over time, the entrepreneur repays their loan. Repayment and other updates are posted on Kiva and emailed to lenders who wish to receive them.
4) When lenders get their money back, they can re-lend to someone else in need, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds.