Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Christmas Thing To Do

As we were sitting amid all the splendor of our little Christmas at home, it occurred to me that I had a Kiva credit. What a wonderful way to spend some time Boxing Day! If you are not familiar with Kiva, it is a non-profit agency that co-ordinates micro-loans to small business people around the world. Kiva works with many field agencies in many countries. I have a penchant for supporting women entrepreneurs, (I currently am helping two Norah's in different parts of Africa) and Farmer Man likes to support farmers. Loan amounts start at $25 which you can put into your 'account' with Paypal or a credit card. You then peruse the list of people waiting for a loan to come through. It's really eye-opening - a woman in Latin America asking for $300 to buy more sodas for her little store, a man in Eastern Europe looking for $500 for maintenance for his truck so that he can take on more transport work. There is info on each borrower and a complete breakdown of the loan and repayment terms. Kiva has a very low default rate, the money comes back into your account and you can choose to withdraw it or re-loan it. You get updates regularly and, well, it's just a great thing to do! So we spent some time choosing who we would re-loan our funds to - wish we had enough money to loan some to everyone on Kiva's list!! Maybe that's what we'll ask Santa for next year! Check it out - it feels good!

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