Several years ago, my boss at the time gave her employees the most awesome gift. Each of us received $100 to loan out at Kiva.
Kiva.org is a site where you can make microloans of as little as $25 to someone who doesn’t have access to traditional banking services. Kiva makes loans to people on five continents, often for entrepreneurial purposes.
What’s cool is that you – as a lender – can choose who you want your money to go to. And once it’s repaid (Kiva has over a 98% repayment rate) you can lend that money again to someone else.
In the past four years, the original money I was given to loan out has gone to the following people:
Issatu used the money to buy inventory for her general store in her small village of Yataya.
Blessing sells soft drinks and sachet waters in Benin City, Nigeria. She used her loan to buy more inventory to sell.
This loan was used to purchase fertilizer for a farming group in Kyenjojo, Uganda. The group grows tea leaves and sells them to a tea factory.
Saiyohat used her loans to buy fabric, which is sold for women’s dresses. She has a kiosk in a market in Istaravshan, Tajikistan.
Kamala is using her loan proceeds to buy five young cattle, which she will raise and sell.
This loan went to Claude, a member of this group, who will use it to buy beans, sorghum, and peanuts for resale. He will use the proceeds to pay medical expenses for his family.
So how cool is this? Seriously, it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given.
You can join Kiva and begin making microloans yourself. This would also make a great gift for a generous, but hard to buy for, person on your list this upcoming holiday season.
Have you had any experience with Kiva or a similar organization?