A small investment… for a HUGE return
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched the underprivileged of the world suffering and asked myself, “what can I do to help?” I have felt powerless and overwhelmed.
Well now I have an answer...or at the very least a toe hold on the dilemma. It is called micro-financing and it allows me to help a deserving entrepreneur in the developing-world to start up his or her small business. I find it fascinating and rewarding and the non-profit organization that I found best suited to my purposes is KIVA.
KIVA services countries such as Samoa, Peru, Bolivia, Ghana, Nicaragua, Tajikistan, Mexico, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Ukraine, Benin, Viet Nam and Paraguay. They display a list of entrepreneurs in need of a loan...giving a picture, a brief outline of their intended business and the amount needed to get it started.
Here’s where I come in. I decide who I want to help and I send in my $25. KIVA collects the funds and then passes them along to one of the micro-finance partners worldwide. They will distribute the loan funds to the selected entrepreneur and may even provide training to maximize their chance of success.
In the pictures you see Saroeun from Cambodia with her husband. They requested the loan of $300 USD to purchase silk material for her weaving business. She sells her finished products to a middle man in her village who takes them to sell in Phnom Penh.
Maria was able to start her clothing business thanks to a prior KIVA loan. She has paid that loan back and is requesting a 2nd loan to expand her business which is going well. She lives in Peru and is putting her daughter through college.
Over time the entrepreneur repays the loan and when I get my money back I can re-lend to someone else in need, donate the funds or withdraw them. It seems like a win-win situation to me. From what I’ve read the delinquency rate on loan repayment is very low…much lower than what is experienced with regular commercial loans from a bank.
I live on a fixed income and am certainly in the lower income bracket here in the U.S, but I am very fortunate when compared to people world wide. It makes me feel good inside to be able to pass along part of my good luck with a small loan of $25.
If you want to feel as good as I do just Google KIVA and browse for yourself.