Thursday, January 28, 2010

I made another $25 loan today to a group of teacher in Sierra Leone on  I discovered Kiva a little more than a year ago and it is such a great company!  Basically it helps working class people from all over the world, i.e. farmers, mechanics, small business owners, etc. who need money but can't get it from a bank by lending through regular people from all over the world, like me, on Kiva.  Micro lending is such a great idea.  These people would not be able to get the money that they need through other means, and all it costs the lenders (me) is $25 each time minimum.  Of course I can choose to give the whole loan amount that someone requests, or any amount in between, if I have the money.  Most of the time the amount being requested is only a few hundred US dollars.  Sometimes a few thousand.  But I believe most people lend $25 or $50 or so, so it takes multiple people to satisfy the total loan amount required.  I like to check out who other people are that also loaned to the same people I loaned out to, just to see where they are from and things like that.  The teachers that I loaned out to tonight required $2000 loan total, and 93 people from all over the world came together on Kiva, and now the teachers have the money they need!  Man I wish I could come up with an idea as great as Kiva, solving world's problems one little step at a time!

Since it's a loan, by definition, you get your money back at some point.  There's no set time line for them to pay back on Kiva, I suppose since most of these people are from such poor countries, it's hard to pay back within a specific time frame.  And there's no interest, so you are not receiving any compensation as a lender.  You are just doing it out of the goodness of your heart!  And it's only $25, which means wayyyy less to us than it does to them.

So when I first started, I loaned $25 each to 2 people.  One was a young kid in Cambodia who needed to help his family out by establishing his motor bike taxi business.  The other was a 70 something year old woman in Samoa who needed the money for her sewing business to buy equipment.   The Cambodia kid paid the money back super fast!  I want to say... a month or 2 only.  So once he completely paid the $25 back, I was able to either put it back into my bank account, or find another person to loan to.  So I loaned it out to a man in Azerbaijan who is a cattle raiser and also a teacher, who needed the money to buy 3 young calves in order to obtain better profits.  The 70 year old Samoan lady took a rather long time to pay back - about a year.  So I wasn't able to loan out to another person until today (unless I chose to deduct more from my bank account).  I plan to let the $50 roll and help as many as I can!

However slowly they pay back the money, it's great that they are paying it back!  So I feel like the loan really helped them to make enough profits to pay back the money.  Kiva works with local agencies that they contract with in each location, so the local agencies are actually the ones that the local people go to and pay back to, then they give us back the money through Kiva.  Basically Kiva is a one stop place for good hearted people all over the world to go to, instead of finding each local agency in each country on their own, which may not have the resources to put up a website specifying people's needs.

I think I may do another $50 or $100 once a year from now on.  The amount is so insignificant to me, well maybe more significant now that we are in a recession!  But still, that's less than $10 a month.  If I let the money add up year and year, I will be able to help way more people all over the world!  It definitely is rewarding.  I've got my boyfriend and mom to join too!  Since we are not in the position to give out life-changing amount of money, I'm glad that the little I can do is making a difference in someone's life!

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