Kiva: $25 Makes Business Happen
It’s all relative. In some countries, for some entrepreneurs, $25 can change their life. I’ve lived in Africa (Congo/Zaïre/Congo) and have seen firsthand how so little money can have such a big impact.
You’ve undoubtedly heard about Kiva.org by now, the organization that facilitates micro loans to small entrepreneurs in 184 different underprivileged countries. You and I are the ones providing the loans, starting with as little as $25 towards average total loans sizes of $420.59.
More than 80% of Kiva’s loans go to women entrepreneur. Which is why I thought that this would be the perfect time to mention this as an extra special gift idea for Mother’s Day. Think of the value packed in this $25. Where else can you spend this amount (or much more if you’d like!) and help another woman provide for her children, help pave someone’s path to self- sufficiency and perhaps even to enable dreams to come through. And, to make this super convenient, Kiva has readymade gift certificates (that you can email or print yourself) to be printed in the amount of your choice.
Mom will then be able to “shop” Kiva’s directory of entrepreneur and pick someone or a group that she wants to help. She can then follow her/their progress. Once the loan is repaid, she can then choose to reinvest with another entrepreneur, donate the funds to Kiva or withdraw the money (find out more here).
The loans are all enabled through various international microfinance institutions who screen deserving and qualified local entrepreneurs from impoverished communities world-wide.
To me, this is a powerful gift to give, because, like most other things that I adore, it has a story. The real human story of people looking to improve their condition. And therefore it has meaning and depth and will most certainly be greatly appreciated.
I have chosen to give myself the gift of Kiva and will be following my very own entrepreneurial group of women in Mali. The Soutoura group is looking for funding to help them buy bolts of fabric so that they can dye them into the colorful fabrics known as “wax pagnes”. They will sell their product in various markets and neighborhoods. (I love “wax pagne” and have gorgeous colorful yards of the fabric brought back from the Congo, still awaiting a worthy project to put them to use). As of this moment, these women have raised a little more than half of the $525.00 that they need. Can a group of North American succulent women finish raising the balance of their loan? I think we can. Go here and please come back and let me know so that we can send you a big hourrah and a few wet kisses.
The historical loan default rate with Kiva loan recipients is 1.8%. I can live with that “risk”.