I just learned about this incredible organization called KIVA where you can help an entrepreneur in a third world country with his/her business. Now, they aren't looking for huge loans, in fact you can help someone out with as low as $25. 99.1% of the loans have been paid back. You can help one person with $25 or a few people, or make a large donation. They list people who need assistance and you read their stories and needs and choose who you'd like to help. Here's the list of loans needed.

Here's the story from NPR's World Vision where I learned about this opportunity.
Unlike normal loans, they aren't paid back with interest, but what you get is the one on one opportunity to help someone out, some unique individual in a country thousands of miles from you who needs a little help. Kiva calls them "loans that change lives." And while their life will ultimately be changed with the extra help, so will yours. So much happens when you give back to the world.
If you are reading this in the US at night on 6/18, it seems PayPal is down as I just tried myself, but try again in the morning.

Also, NPR's Marketplace did a story on this as well.
Here's a clip--

VIGELAND: So, what's the benefit to you of doing this?

KRISTOF (NY Times Columnist who donated/loaned money to people on Kiva) : A couple of different things. I mean, it is a way of feeling like you're making a difference, of doing so in a way that encourages economic activity, which ultimately will provide more employment to support the economy. I also think that there's really a benefit, though, of just engaging with the rest of the world, and of seeing who you are helping. And you know, in this case, I happened to lend to two men, but that is actually unusual in microcredit. Usually, the borrowers are women, and one central purpose of microcredit has been to raise the status of women in the developing world.

VIGELAND: As people, as consumers, as our listeners are deciding how to allocate their charitable giving, how is this kind of effort different from, say, just giving a charity donation to an aid group? Because for example, there is no tax deduction here.

KRISTOF: I think most people, in the case of Kiva, essentially roll over their loans. When one is paid back, then they roll it over to somebody else. And look, there are a million incredibly important potential recipients for donations. You know I, as you know I believe passionately in Darfur, malaria. You know, but, I think that especially for somebody who wants, you know, visibility, and they kinda want to know directly who does their money go to and what does that person look like? Kiva is, or that whole approach, is one useful addition to their portfolio.


Anyway, I was just listening to two nuns talking about how we have so much in America and if we, the folks with the money, could just live a little more simply, someone else could live a little more well.
Something to think about...


  1. Enjoyed this post--and also the Good Reads one. The link to KIVA appears to be broken; thought you'd like to know.

  2. This is the second blog I've come across talking about KIVA. This is a sign--I must look into it!


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