I urge you to swing by their website Kiva and see what's going on. Founded in 2004 by newly weds Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley, it was conceived as an on line way for us to make business loans to entrepreneurs who would have no other means of borrowing. This has grown to function in 216 countries and made loans totalling $246,775,850!
We can choose the person or group we wish to donate to and follow their progress as they pay back the loan. You are limited to a $25.00 investment in any loan. A $3.50 donation towards operating funds is optional. Paypal donates their service to Kiva. The repayment rate is 98.87%, far above usual business loan rates. When your $25.00 is repaid to you, you can withdraw the funds through Paypal or re-lend them.
After hearing about this programme on Oprah (of course) I made my first loan. I chose a woman from Togo in Africa who supported herself, her children and her sisters children by selling cooked rice on the side of the road. She hoped to build a shed as a cooking space. That's not a lot to ask for. She looked so sad that I didn't mind that she would likely never repay the loan.
This is Abla ~
She never missed a payment and I was paid back in full! Abla would, I'm sure, be shocked to find she has made a difference in many, many other lives. She is responsible for me re-lending twenty-one more times. She is responsible for three of my family/friends lending twelve times. She has encouraged me to make loans in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Burundi, Cambodia, Lebanon (love Chamel the interior decorator!), Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru and the Philippines. If she can have impact on people in so many other countries, with her willingness to try and a sense of responsibility, what can the rest of us do?
We all have some talent to donate. We all can give time. Some of us can give money once. Some of us can give money more often. Do you have IT skills to donate to a struggling charity? Can you drive someone to a cancer clinic. Can you serve meals to the homeless or collect blankets and sleeping bags for them? Could you donate pet food to a sanctuary or foster a litter of kittens until they find homes? Can you swing a hammer for Habitat For Humanity? Can you mind a young mother's toddler for an hour while she rests? Can you donate your business clothes to a woman's shelter for job interview attire? Can you shovel an elderly neighbour's sidewalk?
I say to myself, "If Abla can do it, so can I!"
"He who waits to do a great deal of good all at once, will never do anything." ~ Samual JohnsonLet's not wait for Christmas to do our little bit to change the lives of others. Let's celebrate the bounty of harvest time and our great fortune in living when and were we do by connecting with someone who needs us!
Ralph Waldo Emmerson says it best,
"It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself".I know my life is enriched by my involvement with my new friends around the globe.
Have a generously happy day!