Just prior to Christmas I posted my intentions to donate money to Kiva, an international aid organization that distributes loans to budding entrepreneurs in the third world. I chose four people based on their business proposals and loaned each of them $25. toward their modest goal.
My tiny loans have gone to Lebanon, Togo and Azerbaijan, And every week or so I get an update on the progress of the businesses, which range from raising cattle to a grocery store to a beauty salon and a motorcycle rental company. The loan terms vary but repayment schedule is around a year or so. Two of the loans have not been topped up yet by other Kiva supporters while the other two are complete and working for the business owners. And this week I received my first repayment!
The beauty salon owner and the motorcycle renter have both paid back a couple of bucks on my $25 investments with them. Once that repayment account reaches a loan-worthy amount, I’ll simply choose another entrepreneur and support their business plan. I love this process. It’s a hand up not a hand out. I’m getting brief progress reports on the various businesses I’ve supported. It doesn’t take a lot of money to help someone a world away improve their life through a little hard work and responsibility to their “shareholders”. If you want to and if you can, it’s www.kiva.org.