A few months ago Rick over at Blind Beggar posted on Kiva Micro-finance loans. I had never heard of this before and was intrigued. If you have never heard of micro-finance before, read a wiki about them.
Basically, this is what Kiva does: “Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, you can “sponsor a business” and help the world’s working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you’ve sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.”
Ron Sider, in his great book “Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger” writes that, “micro-loans produce stunning transformation in poor communities” and “most of the poor want to earn their own way. They have enormous social capital: intact families, a desire to work, pride, and integrity. But they need some help. This is exactly what more and more organizations providing micro-loans are doing…” (preface, xv).
I’ve signed up (here is our profile) and soon Melanie and I will sit down and look through the opportunities to help finance a few individuals.
Are you looking to help out individuals and their families (and thus their communities) in an effective way? Head over the Kiva and learn more. Do you know of other reputable micro-loan organizations?
Here’s an idea, how about in addition to your regular gift giving, you invest in a micro-loan for them…just a thought.