I think I speak for most when I say that often we want to get involved and help those in crisis, but we don't know how. We watch the evening news and feel helpless. We know we want to do something, but don't know what.
We see poverty and other than writing a check, are very limited in our options. There's a solution, but we can't see how to be a part of it.
Recently I've been given a spark of hope. And that spark comes from an organization known as Kiva.
It's no secret that there are many in developing countries who have the skills needed to support their families through various jobs, but because they lack the start-up funds for businesses, they remain in poverty.
Take it from someone who has completed a lot of business courses- without start up capital, great ideas remain just that- ideas. But it doesn't have to be this way anymore, thanks to Kiva.
Through their organization, individuals such as you and me can actually play a part in funding a business on the other side of the world.
This is how it works: Kiva finds entrepreneurs in third world countries and assess the needs. They then petition us for loans for these businesses. Individuals work together to pledge the entire loan amount, then 100% of it is given to the entrepreneur.
Once they have the funds, they use it to buy supplies or get their businesses off the ground. Then over a period of time (some as short as six months), they repay the loan.
Then the lenders can either take that money back, or lend it to someone else who needs it.
In March I signed up and was able to loan money to a few individuals. Less than two months later part of this money has already been repaid! Money that I had all but forgotten about was able to help someone on the other side of the world who now, thanks to all of the loans given, has a sustainable source of income for themselves and their children.
What a revolutionary concept!
To see how you can give involved, please visit kiva.org