Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kiva: Loans that Change Lives

Click on title to go to web site.

Did you always want to do something good for someone, didn't trust a charity or government to do the right thing?

Did you think that being philanthropic meant that you had to be rich like Gates or Buffett to make a difference?

The answer is to become a member of Kiva, an international organization that makes micro loans to people who are business minded and want to get ahead in life and to make their community a better place because of their efforts.

What does it cost? What big investment do you have to make?
$25.00 Yep that's it! I first read about Kiva in the Wall Street Journal back in May of 2007. Soon afterward I made my first loan. It doesn't take much, a pay-pal account and away you go.

You read the stories about the people, their dreams and select whom you want to get your money. Many people make up the funding for each loan so you are not alone. The Following is an excerpt from the mission statement page of Kiva.

"What Is Kiva?
We Let You Loan to the Working Poor
Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.


Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community.

Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.

Kiva partners with existing expert microfinance institutions. In doing so, we gain access to outstanding entrepreneurs from impoverished communities world-wide. Our partners are experts in choosing qualified entrepreneurs. That said, they are usually short on funds. Through Kiva, our partners upload their entrepreneur profiles directly to the site so you can lend to them. When you do, not only do you get a unique experience connecting to a specific entrepreneur on the other side of the planet, but our microfinance partners can do more of what they do, more efficiently".

I have made seven loans so far by rollng over into new loans whenever I am paid back. I encourage everyone to explore the possibilities and do something to help your fellow man. This is not a handout, it's a handup.
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