Back in May I created a Kiva account, and funded it with $100. At the time I was feeling especially fortunate, and wanted to give something back.
Kiva is this really amazing non-profit organization that makes it possible for anyone to make microloans to people in developing countries. The best part is that I get to choose who my $100 goes to, in as small as $25 increments. So I chose four different applicants, two in Cambodia, one in Tanzania, and one in Vietnam. I didn’t realize it at the time, but all four were women. (In retrospect I consider this just retribution for all the unspeakable violence that has been, and continues to be, perpetrated against women around the world.)
One woman needed a loan to purchase a cow to reduce farming costs. Another needed a loan to buy a motorbike to commute to work more easily. And two others needed loans to further expand their poultry businesses. I didn’t fund their requests in full, but I didn’t need to. Many other Kiva members contributed a portion of the loans. You can check out all the details on my lender page: who I’ve lent to, who else has lent to them, the status of repayment, etc. It’s really quite engrossing.
With the money that’s been paid back so far, including one loan in full, I was able to lend $25 each to two women in Peru to purchase animals. Which means I’ve been able to make $150 worth of loans, even though I’d only “invested” $100. Put another way: my $100 has done $150 worth of good in the world. This makes me really happy.
One of the things I’ve heard people say about Kiva is that it’s addictive. It’s true, I didn’t want to stop at the two Peruvian women. So I decided to add another $75 to my account so I could lend to three more people, an aspiring restaurateur in Peru who buys and sells scrap iron, another Peruvian woman’s poultry business, and a couple in Cambodia who want to buy a cow for breeding.
I am so proud.