For the past month, I’ve been saying “I want to do something BIG.” That thought keeps coming back and then I began saying, I can do a bunch of ‘small’ things too followed by …I want to do something big and break out of my insulated comfort zone.
Perhaps the angels were sick and tired of hearing my request and they pointed me in the right direction. I read articles in 2 different magazines about microfinance/microlending. Microlending is lending money directly to small business owners.
It’s small because I can give a small amount and actually see where it goes and who it helps.It’s huge because a small amount of money can touch a huge numbers of lives.
It fits me because the money goes directly to women who put the money back into the family thus improving the outcome of the next generation. They create a business, hire and pay others who in turn educate their families as well. Here are some facts from kiva.org:
The results of that lost opportunity are profound:
- Over 1 billion people live in extreme poverty – 75% are women and girls.
- 76 million primary school-age children are not in school – 60% are girls.
- There are 876 million illiterate adults in the developing world – over 65% are women.
- Women produce half the world’s food, but own only 1% of the world’s farmland.
But when you invest in her future, the story changes dramatically:
- Research shows that when a woman contributes to her family’s income, she reinvests the majority of her earnings to build a better future for herself and her children.
- Every additional year of education for a girl yields a 20% increase in her future earning potential.
- A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five.
The entire loan goes to the business owner for a specific project. No hidden fees. Better yet, the repayment rate is 99%! Once the money is repaid the funds are returned to your account and you can have the money back or lend it to another project. Kiva will send you updates along the way.
Perhaps you’d like donate to a cause that focuses only on women? If so, check out Women’s World Bank and read about their process and the huge number of women who benefit from the micro-loans they receive. These women do not want a hand out. They want a loan to help them get off their feet, build inventory, hire workers, and other sound actions. They do not want charity and will pay back the money.
I have a cup filled with quarters sitting on my shelf that can help change the course of life for someone! Imagine that! Small acts … huge effort!
Other Microlending/Microfinding organizations:
Our task should be to fight the injustice of a world where half of humanity lives in poverty. Our journey is to expand our compassion, our generosity and our humanity. We must take it personally that we live in a world where half of us live in poverty. This is the cause that we should fight for.
Pro Mujer (promujer.org)
- Pro Mujer is an international women’s development and microfinance organization whose mission is to provide Latin America’s poor women with the means to build livelihoods for themselves and futures for their families through microfinance, business training, and healthcare support.
- Pro Mujer fights poverty by establishing sustainable microfinance organizations that provide an integrated package of financial and human development services that women require to build and improve their small businesses.
- Pro Mujer supports the health of its clients and their families and helps women build their self-esteem. The organization also links women and their families with existing resources and services in their communities.
- A Small Act (margekatherine.com)
- I’d rather work than wish (livingtheseasons.com)
- Ask an Expert: Strapped entrepreneurs can go microloan route (usatoday.com)
- Union Costaneras Group : Bolivia (kiva.org)