Here's a quiz for you. What do the following countries have in common?
The Dominican Republic
These are all countries where I have helped loan money to entrepreneurs trying to establish businesses through Kiva, the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe. They limit individual loans to $25, the idea being that groups of people are working together to help people in developing or under-developed countries get a start. As the loans are repaid, you can loan the same money over and over again to new indviduals or groups. Talk about an effortless feel-good way of giving someone a real boost.
Today, for example, I learned that I had received enough money back on my loans that I could either take the money back, or re-loan it. Naturally I re-loaned it. I always re-loan the money.
I looked through the list of people who were asking for loans and was taken by the Katumba-2-united Nyangoma Peace Group.
I liked it because of the leader, Nyangoma Peace, who is twenty-nine years old, single with one child, who is in school. She is an engineer operating a garage dealing with car mechanics. She has been in the mechanics business for over ten years.
Peace is using the loan to buy more car paint and spare parts to be the best in her business. This will help her expand the business. She is a hardworking woman whose future hope is to purchase a plot of land and construct a house of her own, the description read.
I loved the idea of all of these women owning a garage and working as car mechanics! More power to them...or at least $25 to help them get going.
I also decided to help a group of women from The Dominican Republic, the La Alternativa Group, which has been selling clothing and shoes for several years and are now asking for their second loan through Kiva. The leader of the group is a mother of three 10 and under, and, according to the description, the success of her business is vitally important for their health and education. Antonia finds herself using the profits from her business to feed her children and pay for their studies, books, uniforms and more. This loan is vitally important to the growth of her business – and sub sequentially the education of her children!
Recently I helped to fund Sona, a farmer in Azerbaijan, the Nawad John Mohammed Group in Pakistan, Ester Ogbti, who sells used clothing in Nigeria, and Rosa who runs a butcher shop in Peru.
Since I first heard about Kiva from Al Gore in 2007, I have made 13 loans, of which four have been completely repaid, two are 92% paid and the rest, more recent loans, are repaid anywhere from 0% to 64%. (Ironically the women to whom I have loaned money have repaid their loans more quickly than the men.)
It seems like such a small thing, but I'm sure that for the entrepreneurs who are attempting to better their lives it's a very big thing.
Kiva is changing the world, one loan at a time. I hope others who have not checked them out yet will take the opportunity to do so at this time. The group in The Dominican Republic still needs a bit of money to complete the loan, for example.
Tomorrow is Cousins Day, so the next entry will be posted late...