It’s the new year, and instead of giving something up, have you thought about possibly giving something back? Or even taking the New Year concept a step further, by committing to temporarily lending your funds to those who seek to make a positive impact in their lives and communities? The risk of loaning your money is low, but the benefit for both yourself and those around the world are priceless!
Over the course of five years, Kiva has created the opportunity for individuals around the world to devote their time by volunteering, or by donating funds through lending to those in need. More specifically, Kiva.org allows internet users to lend to entrepreneurs in developing countries – empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty.
Listed below are some quick facts about Kiva and where they stand today!
- Launched in October 2005 with just seven loans on the site
- In November 2008, just over three years time, Kiva passed 50 million in total loans
- Kiva is now used by 390,000 lenders and borrowers in 42 different countries
- Kiva uses a network of microfinance institutions to administer their loans. Choosing good field partners from all over the world is vital as they select potential borrowers
To find out more more about one of the entrepreneurs above, and how you can contribute, keep reading!
(Image Above: Ricardo Ortiz Herrera)
About the loan
Loan Request: $600
Location: Colón, Departamento De La Libertad, El Salvador
Activity: Metal Shop
Loan Use: to buy metal
Repayment Term: 26 months
Default Protection: Covered
About Ricardo: Herrera is 62 years old, and runs a metal workshop business. His business is growing steadily, due to his ability to stand out as an individual who is very responsible in his field of work. Herrera lives with his wife, who is a homemaker. Since this business of his is the only source of income for him and his wife, his request for a loan is to purchase a large quantity of metal, so that he will have the raw materials available when customers come in with orders. This loan would help Herrera improve both his business as well as provide him with economic stability.
In the time that I was on the Kiva. org website researching Herrera’s story along with others, I could see in real time as loans are fulfilled! This happens quicker than I could have imagined. While I was browsing, Herrera’s loan request was posted earlier in that day, and within minutes his loan request had been met! Amazing! Even more amazing is that those who lent Herrera money will begin to be repaid back in full, starting March 2010 in $25 monthly increments.
What can you do to help?
On a personal level, you can purchase a gift certificate for a friend that acts as a small loan to an entrepreneur around the world. Your gift certificate recipient can then watch as the entrepreneur’s business grows through email updates, and once their loan is fully repaid, they can choose to re-lend the amount, or withdraw their gift.
Do you see yourself becoming a loaner this year?