Charity, micro-Finance, lending not giving.

I don’t often talk about what I do for charity because I believe giving and helping isn’t about you, it’s about them. This time I’m going to because I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved and I feel like I’ve done something useful and you never know, some of you might like to join in.*

Since early 2012 I’ve been lending money through Kiva, the micro-finance charity. Every payday I go to the web site, pick one or two or three people from around the world who need to borrow money to improve their lives, and lend them $25 USD towards it.

This is lending money, not giving. Over time the loans come back. If you want, you can re-lend the money and that is what I’ve been doing. Each month I’ve put a bit more in, and each month a bit of what I’ve already lent comes back. It all adds up, I now have a fund totally just over $3,000, and that is very nice.

What I like about this is that the money keeps working – and working. That $3,000 has now supported $10,000 worth of loans – all to individuals and collectives around the world who just need a bit of help so they can have a bigger harvest, a better education, more stock for their shop, or even just a toilet in their home. That number felt like a number worth celebrating.

Because the money returns, over time I can help more and more people each month. What started as one or two is now ten or twelve. Next month I should pass another target – my 400th loan.

Kiva’s not perfect but I’m happy with it. There are some risks. because a few loans don’t get repaid, or only partly repaid. This is tiny – less than half of 1% for me. To my mind that tells you something good about what people all over the world are really like.

I hope I’ll be able to continue to grow that fund for many years and help more and more people. That’s the plan. It feels like a good one.

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* If you are interested, take a look here.


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