Today was a good day. After some flash flooding put a minor damper on my drive home yesterday, I knew today could only be better.
And it was. I got an email from Kiva (a microfinance provider), saying that one of my loans was repaid in full! I had $26.35 in my account, and it only takes $25 to make a loan. So I went on the site, and started looking around…
If you’re unfamiliar with Kiva, the website describes the organization as: “…a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” It’s easy to get involved – just go to the website, and “choose a borrower”.
But with so many options, it can be hard to narrow it down to pick one person/group to give a loan to. I usually start by narrowing down my options: male/female? What country? Do I want 1 person or a team? Would I like to help someone with a retail shop or help someone get an education? As I narrow down my “criteria”, I start to read through the stories and usually find one that tugs at my heart. 9 out of 10 times, it’s a no brainer.
After about an hour of narrowing it down & reading the stories, I found a woman in Guatemala (a place my parents went and loved) who lost her husband and has struggled with finances ever since. She earns money by weaving and selling fabrics, and has earned enough to send 2 of her 4 daughters to school. Through her business, she has been able to employ 6 women in the local area. Her loan request is to help strengthen her textile business and hire porters to plant corn. After reading her story, I HAD to loan her money. So, the first $25 of today went to Maria & the Flor De Maguey Group! Keep her, her family, & her employees in your prayers as she works to improve her community in Guatemala.
After loaning to Maria, I filtered for “What’s Popular” – just because I was curious the other types of loans out there as I love reading all the stories…and I came across Rusul, from Iraq. Her loan had a company “matching” the loans. So my $25 loan, would really give Rusul $50! Rusul is similar to Maria, she sews instead of weaves, but is in need of a new sewing machine & hopes to renovate her workspace (she works at home).
I try to loan to different countries, and for different types of requests, and so Rusul fit the bill as this is my first loan to Iraq.
I’m hoping that Maria & Rusul will put my $25 to use improving their businesses, employing people in their community, renovating workspaces, and planting crops. It’s crazy to think that with enough support, a $25 loan can change the life of someone abroad.
I also love that through Kiva, these women (and men), are adamant about repaying the loan, allowing Kyle & I the opportunity to continue to help others around the globe.
So if I get the opportunity (which I will…), to loan to someone again – which country should I choose? What sector should I choose (education, food, retail?)?
I hope everyone takes some time to check out Kiva, and maybe even loan someone $25.