October 14th, 2008 / 5 Comments
Are the images of throngs of shoppers at the mall stressing you out already?
What if I told you there is a meaningful gift you can give, without fighting crowds at the mall?
What if I told you that this gift teaches values, is not wasteful, retains it’s worth, and helps alleviate the problem of poverty all at the same time?
Too good to be true?
But it is true!
Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world. With those loans, the entrepreneurs would have money to develop their businesses, earn money to provide for their families, grow towards economic independence, and get out of poverty.
Here is how it works:
I give a $25 gift certificate to Kiva to my 18-year-old niece for Christmas. She browses entrepreneurs’ profiles on Kiva, choose someone to lend to, and then make a $25 micro-loan using the gift certificate.
Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), my niece will receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when she gets the loan money back, my niece can either keep the money to spend on herself, or she can relend to someone else in need on Kiva.
My niece still gets $25 that is my gift to her after the loan is repaid. But it’s been put to good use first, not only by someone in a developing country in need, but it has taught my niece a big lesson in helping others. She gains the satisfaction of contributing to alleviating poverty, saw how she can help even in a small way, and hopefully, be inspired to continue to participate in the cause of helping the poor.
It’s a win-win-win all around – no headaches for me to go shopping, both my niece and I participate in helping to end poverty, the entrepreneur gets his business going, his family is provided for, his community grows, and Christmas is a joyous season for all!