Share the love!

By Sarah Winfrey on 9 February 2007 (Updated 10 June 2007) 7 comments

Street market

This Valentine's Day, share the love around the world!

Kiva.org allows anyone with at least $25 dollars to spare to provide a loan to an entrepreneur in the developing world. These entrepreneurs are pre-screened by organizations in the developing country, which means that the recipients of the loans are known to be hard-working, honest people who need (what seems to us) a little extra money to improve their business.

What seems to us to be a small amount of money can dramatically change the life of a poor person and their family. Many people around the world have the knowledge and ability to work, but don't have the start-up capital for a business. Kiva's loans most often (from what I read) cover that capital, and so allow a person to see the fruits of their labor instead of being paid a pittance for what they do, and to support their family where they could not before.

And the best thing about Kiva? Almost anyone can afford it! The smallest amount you can invest is $25, as your loan will add with the loans of others to total a full loan for one of the entrepreneurs. With Kiva's help, you (yes YOU) can do something to change someone's life.

If you invest in an entrpreneur, you not only get the benefit of knowing you helped somebody out of a tight spot, but you also get to follow their journey. You will receive journal updates about your entrpreneur and their business, in which someone from the in-country orgnaization will write about what they're able to do now that they have more money to work with. Eventually (usually within a year, according to the site), your money will be repaid and you'll have the option of reinvesting or cashing out.

While Kiva loans don't earn interest, they do earn you the knowledge that you've helped someone, and they allow you to make someone's life just a little better. What better way is there to show that you care about the world than investing in the future of individuals and their families?

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Andrea Karim's picture

I just bought sheep for my sponsored kid's family in India. It was a hefty price tag, but for several sheep and a shed and all the vet's cost, it was totally worth it. I've heard about the differences that a small amount of livestock can make in a family's life, and I'm a huge proponent of microfinance. Thanks for a more unique a heartfelt perspective on love, Sarah.

 

*Update* I just donated $25 to a lady in Afghanistan and I love myself more already!

Will Chen's picture

At a time when we're thinking about expensive gifts for Valentine's Day we forget that for the price of a box of chocolates we could be helping someone reinvent their life.  Great post Sarah!

P.S.  For some reason I hear Ira Glass's voice when I read this sentence:

"With Kiva's help, you (yes YOU) can do something to change someone's life."

Andrea Karim's picture

I KNEW there was a reason why I went a little weak in the knees when I read that line! (Now, Ira is a guy with some glasses. Am I right? Eh?)

Will Chen's picture

Ira wears some cool glasses, just like a certain Lisa-Leob-look-alike.  :)

Guest's picture
Meaghan

I started lending with Kiva in December. It is a truly rewarding experience- choosing a deserving business person, looking over their business plan, and watching that person succeed is so much more personal than just sending money to a charity where you don't know exactly what it's doing, and don't get to see the positive effects your donation has on a community. As my loans begin to be repaid, I envision what will happen when the money comes back to me and I can reinvest it. I imagine having 50 simultaneous loans, to people all over the world, improving themselves and their communities.

It's good stuff- thanks for spreading the word.

Lynn Truong's picture

i always imagined ira as some 30-something dorky guy.  so he's actually a 40-something dorky guy. 

Guest's picture

[1] Sell a service
[2] Accept KIVA gift certificate as a payment
[3] Distribute funds to KIVA entrepeneurs; subscibers can check with the Lender page to ensure monies are allocated to their requested projects
[4] Either (a) take the funds out upon payment - or recycle the money to new borrowers. Depends on your business.

No takers yet - but it is another potential marketing strategy for KIVA.

http://blog.fallondpicks.com/2007/02/new-subscription-model-for-my.html

Best wishes,
Declan