If you had an extra $25 dollars what would you do with it? Go to a movie, out to dinner, get a pedicure? What if you could use that money to make a difference to someone on the other side of the world? Kiva.org is helping people do that. Kiva is a non-profit organization that allows people to lend as little as $25 to entreprenuers around the world.
Kiva empowers people in other countries to lift themselves out of poverty by borrowing money to start a business or make improvements to a current establishment.
Kiva has been featured in TIME magazine, The New York Times and on countless TV programs including PBS and NBC. This press has no doubt attributed to the over 680,000 people who use Kiva. Of those people 318,000 people have received a loan and 437,000 people have funded a loan.
So how does it work? Kiva has a network of Field Partners, microfinance institutions around the world, that upload profiles of people applying for a loan.
Lenders like you and me log in, browse profiles and choose someone we would like to loan to. Then the lender picks an amount and uses a Pay-Pal account or credit card to make the payment. Kiva then gives the money to the Field Partner who gives it to the entrepreneur. Over time the loan is repayed and the lenders get their money back, they can then re-lend those funds, donate them to Kiva or withdraw them back into their Pay-Pal accounts for personal use.
I learned about this website from a friend on Facebook, he had loaned $200 to a woman in Uganda. His loan had recently been repaid and he was talking about how great it felt to help someone.
It made me think about how much money we spend in this country for self fulfillment that could potentially help save someone’s business or feed their family.
So next time your paycheck is a little bigger than you expected visit Kiva.org and see what your money can do.