Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kiva: loans that change lives

Here is a really unique way to help change the world.

How would you like to change somebody's life? I mean, there's only so much that one person can really do, right? And I personally am in no position to really make a difference by myself. But I'm finding that there are so many ways that I can contribute and help others, and not only do I feel fantastic about it, but I'm spreading awareness about things I'm passionate about and showing others how their contribution can help, too! At least - I hope that's what I'm doing.

Wouldn't it be great to give somebody the thing that they so badly needed in order to save their life? It'd be such an amazing feeling to be able to give somebody a livelihood to be able to support their families. Give them a helping hand and a good start in life.

Welcome to the concept of microloans.

Kiva connects people through lending to alleviate poverty.

Entrepreneurs from (what we commonly term as) Third-World countries sign up and tell us about themselves, and what they need in order to continue their business. It might be $400 to buy some material in order to keep their tailoring business going. It could be $800 to buy grain to feed the hens so that they can sell their eggs. It could be $600 to update their office equipment. It could be anything. And here's the thing.

You, as a Lender, loan them the money.

You don't have to loan them the whole amount. You can contribute as much or as little as you like. (Minimum: $25.00.)

The Entrepreneur then agrees on a fixed length of time in which to pay back the money loaned to them.

Kiva looks after it all and keeps track of it.

When the money is returned to you, you can choose to take it, re-loan it, or donate it to Kiva.

The Entrepreneur keeps you updated on how your money is helping them. You get the satisfaction of knowing that you helped somebody out when they needed it most, and now they're landing on their feet because of you (and others).

Isn't that just an amazing concept?

Isn't it absolutely sending an almighty "SCREW YOU" to all the major banking and financing corporations who otherwise wouldn't help these ailing entrepreneurs out?

I'm so proud of the people who came up with Kiva. I think it's the most courageous and beautiful thing that anybody could have done for this world.

Kiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty.Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending.

I have joined Kiva as a musician, in the Musicians for Change community.

See who you could lend to:

Pendo Luisi, 27 years old, borrowed $175 to open a cafe in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Kiva was born of the following beliefs:

People are by nature generous, and will help others if given the opportunity to do so in a transparent, accountable way.

The poor are highly motivated and can be very successful when given an opportunity.

By connecting people we can create relationships beyond financial transactions, and build a global community expressing support and encouragement of one another.

Kiva promotes:

Dignity: Kiva encourages partnership relationships as opposed to benefactor relationships. Partnership relationships are characterized by mutual dignity and

Accountability: Loans encourage more accountability than donations where repayment is not expected.

Transparency: The Kiva website is an open platform where communication can flow freely around the world.

As of November 2009, Kiva has facilitated over $100 million in loans.

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