Tuesday, February 10, 2009

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.


Blogger KGMom said...

Oh Ginnie--glad you are helping Kiva too.
About a year and a half ago, my soon-to-be son-in-law sent me info on Kiva, thinking it something I would enjoy. He was right. At that time, Kiva was just getting some big publicity--as in being on Oprah--and they couldn't get enough potential loan recipients. So I camped out practically on the Kiva site, waiting to pounce on the newest person in need of loan. I now have sponsored 4 different people, for modest amounts by my income, and have refinanced when the money is repaid, sponsoring yet more people.
Doesn't it feel great to help? Such a simple idea.
My account is here.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

I will do that. What a great idea. Thanks Ginnie.

1:14 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

It sounds like a great idea, Ginnie. I wish I'd known about it when I started MY business.....LOL

1:26 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I have seen these in action in videos, and they seem to work wonders, especially when women are the beneficiaries as making their way can be harder for them.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Kiva is a wonderful people to people aid effort. What is most amazing is the nearly 100% repayment rate. Sometimes all it takes is a little money in the hands of an enterprising person to make all the difference.

2:39 AM  
Blogger Bud said...

Good for you Ginny. I will check it out.

2:56 AM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

It is wonderful to help others..I see it here with our latest Bushfire catastrophy..I think human kind is wonderful.

2:19 PM  
Blogger dmmgmfm said...

Another blogger I know has done this as well. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity to make a difference.

12:29 PM  
Blogger kenju said...


10:30 AM  

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