Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kiva Changes the World, One Person at a Time

Kiva - loans that change lives

Do you ever dream about all the good you would do if you were rich? Perhaps you'd travel the world making a difference? Or maybe, like Bill Gates, you'd start a foundation that funds your favorite causes? Well that's soooo 20th century. The Internet changed everything. Now you can be that foundation and you don't have to be rich. You just need twenty-five bucks.

Here's the story of how my family became a mini global financier. We loaned twenty-five dollars through Kiva to Chum Vuthy of  Phnom Penh City, Cambodia , who needed a motor bike to expand her cake delivery business. Our loan was bundled with twenty-five dollar loans from dozens of people around the world and Mrs. Vuthy was a step closer to her dream - to shore up the family home against deadly monsoons. Instead of withdrawing the money once she made repayment, we lent it to a Pakistani family looking to add variety to their fruit vending cart. The cycle of lending continues, as our two $25 dollar donations have morphed into $200 and counting. We've lent to a food co-op in The Congo, a taxi driver in Bolivia, an electronics saleswoman in The Sudana wood products manufacturer in Viet Nam, and to a family in Afghanistan. And I am pleased to report that every one of our borrowers has repaid his or her loan. In fact, Kiva borrowers have an excellent track record for repayment -98.36%.

Kiva provides a unique opportunity for families to lift themselves out of poverty, since typical banks dismiss these folks for lack of collateral. Many families have been able to send their children to school for the first time and make additions to their one room homes. Now there is hope where once there was only struggle and grinding poverty.

Kiva - loans that change lives

There are so many would be entrepreneurs listed with Kiva that choosing among them is difficult. To narrow it down I typically lend to people from recently traumatized regions. When beloved former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated I attempted to issue a loan in Pakistan, only to find something remarkable had happened. There wasn't anyone to loan to in the entire world. Every Kiva loan had been filled! That doesn't happen often, if at all. Could thousands of souls around the world have shared the same yearning - to spread hope during a time of tragedy? I cried that day. Twice.

Our most recent loan thrills me. It is to Abisunganye, a group of shoe saleswomen in Rwanda. Since the genocide there killed 800,000 people, mostly men, women of Rwanda were left to rebuild their country. And rebuild they have! They picked up the mantel in government and the economy, leaving those who follow their story in awe.

I also like how Kiva lets lenders link up in affinity teams. And I have no compunction to pitting rival groups against each other if it means more money for Kiva. Hey Christians, the Atheists are the top lending team and you are number three. Go get 'em! While I'm at it, Norway, Canada is really cleaning your clock over there.

With the holidays coming up check out my content related store and affiliate links. 100% of my profits will be donated to Kiva. Even if you're not an environmentalist or some over-the-top New Ager there are gift cards and gadgets listed too.

Or, better yet, direct loans can be made to Kiva borrowers by visiting the site.

Kiva - loans that change lives

Further Reading:

Women Rise in Rwanda's Economic Revival - The Washington Post

Clinton Launches Micro-Lending Drive (Kiva in the US) - The Wall Street Journal

List of Articles Written About Kiva in Newspapers and Periodicals World-Wide

Moving video where a journalist meets his Kiva borrower:

*This is not a sponsored post.


  1. This sounds like a very interesting company. I'd never heard of it before. I'm so glad you came by my blog. I have a soft spot for Kentucky, myself. As far as kefir goes, it is gluten free. I am g-free myself right now. If you try it, let me know how you like it.

  2. Hi Pam. Thanks for coming by. Oh yay, I delighted that kefir is gluten free! Definitely going to make your recipe. I've also heard of people making it from coconut.

  3. Oh my goodness, how inspiring all this is! Thank you so much for sharing - twice: once with your Kiva borrowers, and then with us, so we can be part of this wonderful world!

  4. Thank you Carol. That is exactly why I wrote it - I think many people would want to participate if they knew about Kiva, so I saw this as an opportunity.

  5. I have never heard of Kiva. What a great opportunity, I'll definitely have to look into this for my family to be a part of it! I can't wait to read your posts on homesteading since that is my latest venture and I don't really know of anyone who has done it! I'm glad you found me on NOBH I can't wait to read more of your blog!

  6. Hi 3_little_arrows. I'm a novice Urban Homesteader. At this point I know little, but am hoping to change that. There is a blog hop you might like called The Homesteading Barn Hop.

    Hi Jeff. Thanks, I'm glad you like it!


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