4.17.2007

Changing Lives, $25 At A Time

This is the neatest idea I've seen in awhile. Through Kiva, I'm loaning money - in $25 increments - to businesses in developing countries. The emphasis is on "loan" - each business owner pays back the money loaned to them over a set period of time (usually 6-12 months). As the loan is repaid, I get my money back. I can then choose to lend it to another business if I wish. To date, Kiva has a 100% successful payback rate.

I found the idea here (thanks, Carol). There's more info here (the official Kiva website). And here.

I believe there are other organizations that do much the same thing; I like Kiva because the website is easy to use and I get to choose who to finance. I love the feeling that I'm helping a specific person. And that the money isn't charity; it's going to fund a business so the individual can work to support themselves and their families.

So far, I'm a partner in a cattle breeding operation in Azerbaijan
and a beauty salon in Kenya. I'd like to find a fiber operation to fund - knitting, spinning, weaving or something along that line. Lending opportunities change every day, so sooner or later I'll find what I'm looking for. Or something better.