Just this week I invested in this group of women from Congo who work together to run a store and fund their own micro-enterprise projects in the village. When I contributed they were at 35% funded and now they are 62%. The loan will be repaid in 6 months, and I look forward to finding another community of people to support in places of need.
Each time I also contribute the suggested $3.25 to Kiva to support the administration of all these loans, which seems to be a reasonable rate.
Have you loaned money through Kiva? I bet you’ll get hooked too…
This year my father has passed, but his Kiva credits remain. In fact, the El Salvadoran cook I sponsored in his honor has repaid the loan entirely. (The Bolivian mechanic is 71% repaid). Plus, somewhere in the middle of the year when the first loan was repaid, I committed to two more loans, a farmer from Tajikistan has already repaid his loan and a women’s co-op from Senegal is currently investing in cattle with the funds from this original loan.
Now I have $32 in credit to re-lend, and I’ve decided to support Tres Esquinas Group, a 34 year old woman from Peru who decorates events with cloth. Since I happen to be turning 34 on Saturday and love hosting parties, it seems like the perfect match.
It’s pretty awesome for an initial gift of just $50…imagine the impact around the world!
We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Learn more about how it works.
If there is one thing Hubby is most proud of, it’s his personal commitment to volunteer service. He served in the first group of AmeriCorps members, and even had the opportunity to meet President Clinton at the White House. AmeriCorps members are encouraged to become volunteers, and he’s taken that to heart.
We participate in a handful of projects each year, and have often organized events through our workplaces. Admittedly, since having kids we’re not always able to be the most efficient volunteers. But I figure that it’s the ethic and experience that makes a difference. And I know that the trash we’ve picked up and trees we’ve planted have been because we took time from our busy life to give back. Hubby and I both worked community events this weekend, so we’re going to save our family service for a few weekends from now when Friends of Trees will be planting in our neighborhood.
When we did a gift exchange amongst Hubby’s adult family members it was always hard to know what to buy them. Thankfully now we just do a gift exchange among the cousins so I don’t have to stress about it. My question was always, what do you buy someone who has everything?
In steps Kiva “the change-a-life alternative to holiday shopping.” A co-worker of mine told me that she buys either Kiva loans or Heifer International for her grown up nieces and nephews. Another older co-worker of mine is the matriarch of the family, and in a single year their entire family went from buying a thousand dollars worth of gifts to donating together to a charity that the family would choose at Thanksgiving. That would go a long way with Kiva loans, plus each year the amount would grow as the loans are repaid.
I shared about my first experience of green giving for Father’s Day, and explained the concept of micro-lending. Not quite six months later, 45% of the one loan has been repaid and 20% of the other. With my “credit” I reinvested in a farmer from Tajikistan.
It’s gratifying to think that such a small amount of money could help someone earn prosperity. In reality I’ve been materially successful in my life because I was able to get college loans, buy a house, buy a car…this list goes on. It’s really a great way of paying it forward. Recently, Kiva expanded it’s giving to college students, and you can choose to support true “poor college student”.
Here in Portland there is a big homeless population. I start to think about them the colder it gets, and right now it’s freezing here.
Honestly, I’m busy raising a family, and I don’t feel like I have much capacity to help in any significant way. But I don’t think we should think less of the small efforts we make. They matter to a person who is hungry and tapped of hope.
We also make donations to several canned food drives a year. I call it my Costco tithe, because I’m really just giving away any savings.
In the past I’ve donated socks, sheets and towels to local shelters. They are many shelters in Portland. I really appreciate how they are trying to connect with people on an emotional level as well as fulfill practical needs. Here’s a quick video about the Portland Rescue Mission:
Do you help the hungry and homeless?
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