If you are reading this blog, chances are good that you were fortunate enough to be born in a developed, industrialized nation. Most of us probably take for granted privileges that people in other countries can only dream about. For 5 out of 6 people in this world, those born in developing nations, harsh economic realities make survival a daily challenge. Even if you wanted to work hard to better your condition, the environment would be next to impossible to overcome. Wouldn’t it be nice to “lend” a helping hand to those who want to work hard to better their lives? I recently discovered a non-profit organization named Kiva that connects people through lending in order to combat poverty. (Here’s my lender profile on Kiva.)
Kiva makes microloans (sometimes as little as $25) to people in developing countries to help them work towards improving their own economic conditions. These microloans are often the only source of financing for some of these people. The sources of these funds are regular folks like you and me, who want to be part of the solution and provide opportunities to those less fortunate. The average loan size is about $200, and often several lenders participate in each loan. You might think that the default rate is astronomically high, but according to Kiva’s website, current repayment is 98.78%. In essence, we get a chance to be lenders, while Kiva and its field partners find worthy borrowers in various developing nations. Instead of the recurring handouts that create dependence, Kiva gives people an opportunity to participate in their own economic betterment. Kiva takes care of the disbursement of the loans and collection of the repayments. All you have to do is care enough to “lend” a helping hand!