I don’t know where I’ve been, but it took me until just last evening to find this “Useful Website” which specializes in helping those in Third World nations make a living. My son has known about it for awhile and never mentioned it. The site apparently has had coverage on Oprah, on the Today Show — and even in former President Bill Clinton’s book, “Giving.”
I’m talking about “Kiva,” an organization which was started by some young people — college students, I think? — who have brought together the contacts and resources for you and me as individuals to loan small amounts of money that will have a huge impact in helping Third World residents start or expand businesses, livestock herds, agricultural pursuits, and earn a living.
This blog post is a totally “unpaid” post, I have no financial interest whatsoever in “Kiva” — but when I found out about it from my son last evening, I did go there and invest some money. I loaned $25 to a group of five women in Pakistan who will use the money (along with $25 amounts from a number of other “Kiva” investors) to buy a second milk cow, buy some land so one of their husbands can tend two milk cows, and I forget what else. But I can go back to “Kiva” 24-7 and get periodic reports on the whole operation.
If you have an interest in putting “feet” to those thoughts you’ve probably had about helping Third World residents, sometimes living in abject poverty by our standards, make a living, “Kiva” is your opportunity. Here’s the beauty of these “micro loans”: Making a loan requires you to have an email address and PayPal account (both can be had for free) and to invest $25 via the PayPal account. The site lets you read about and select the individual or group you want to help. They give you tools to evaluate the loan’s usefulness and viability. And they have a way for you to get updates.
In my case, the Pakistani women will be paying back my $25 over an eight month time span. I gain no interest from the loan, because they get the loan interest free.
I see this as an incredible opportunity, personally, to help some folks with a very, very little investment on my part. (We had some bagels and coffee for breakfast yesterday at a local coffee shop. We ordered a too-large pizza and had it delivered for dinner. We spent as much on those two “eat-outs” as the cost of that loan which will help six or seven people in two families support themselves. “Give a man a fish …”)
Go take a look at Kiva.org and help some people. I personally see it as maybe the best website I’ve ever had the privilege of sending you to.
[tags]Kiva.org, micro loans, Third World economies, useful website, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]