Here’s our monthly Kiva plug!
Our family loves this organisation, which helps people all over the world improve their standard of living by providing small loans: small loans which traditional lending institutions, for one reason or another, wouldn’t bother with.
Here’s what Rugiatu’s application had to say:
“Meet Rugiatu. She is 40 years old from Masuba, Makeni in the southern area of Sierra Leone. She is widowed with four children. Some years ago, Rugiatu established her food stand business. She began her business because she wanted to take care of her younger kid’s welfare. She works at the business throughout the week. She says that the main challenge to her business is price inflation and insufficient capital to expand her business.
Rugiatu requires a loan to purchase more bags of native rice and general stock for resale. She hopes that the extra income from this loan will allow her to change her status of living and increase her business. In the future, Rugiatu plans to expand her business more than ever. She thanks you for your support.”
How much does it cost to participate? US$25 is the minimum you can loan each time. Remember, though, that it is a loan, so the money is repaid. As the money trickles back into your Kiva account you can either lend it out again or even pull the money out. If we have $15 in our Kiva account we tend to add $10 to make up a full US$25 and make another loan. Using this method we’ve built up from an initial deposit to our account of US$100 to a total of US$448 today. Even better, you can usually trial the whole Kiva experience for free by clicking over with this LINK – a Kiva ambassador (read as ‘generous rich person’) will often put money up to allow people to do this so they can see if it’s something they would like to be a part of. Not always, but quite often.
How much of my money actually gets to where I think it’s going? All of it. Every cent. Kiva raises money for its administrative needs separately. In fact, when you loan money the site asks if you’d like to donate around $3.75 to this side of the organization. We generally don’t do this, although over the years we’ve donated about $40. It’s totally up to you. We prefer to focus our money on that side of the business which deals directly with the people needing help.
How do I chose who to help? You might base it on gender, continent, country, industry, photo – any number of reasons. At the moment our family is trying to lend money to at least one person in every country Kiva makes loans in. We’re up to 55 countries of of a possible 73. My kids choose people based on their names or their stories. My wife, for some reason, tends to choose women with large families. There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s whoever touches your heart for whatever reason.
How do people use the money I lend them? In all manner of different ways. It might be to fertilize their crops so they produce a better yield, repair a boat, buy a motorbike to start a taxi service, hire fruit pickers or upgrade machinery. As you might imagine, the list of reasons people might want to borrow money to improve their businesses in some small way is quite long. Sometimes people even ask for a loan to improve their homes (insulation for example) or to help them attend university.
How does lending someone money help them? A woman with a market stall might buy $200 worth of rice a week and sell it for $300, providing her family with $100 to meet their living expenses, and the $200 needed for next week’s purchase of rice. She might be aware of a demand for more rice but be unable to take advantage of it because she doesn’t have any extra money to buy more rice to sell. A small Kiva loan of $200 would make the world of difference to her and her family because she can buy double the rice and hopefully make a $200 profit for the week. A little way down the track and she’s used the extra weekly profit to repay the loan, increase the funds available each week to buy rice for her stall and improved the standard of living for her family.
As Kiva says, a $25 loan can change lives.
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Bruce hangs out at his Big Family Little Income Facebook Page.
“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”