This year I wanted to celebrate Christmas in my family a little differently. I asked for donations made in my name instead of gifts. I also decided to give back something that would promote philanthropy and further involvement in charity with my family members. I sent them Kiva gift cards. Through Kiva, they can provide a micro-loan, providing opportunities that alleviate poverty to people all over the world.
You can choose any date you want them to receive the gift confirmation so I chose Christmas eve, because in my family, that’s when we have always opened our gifts. I was able to do four gifts in one transaction and they will each receive their own separate email and Kiva Card. I chose the same amount for all so that made it easy. If you are giving different amounts, you will need to do separate transactions.
Now each of them can browse through all the different individuals and groups who are asking for micro-loans, and they can choose who to give to. If the lendee they chose is successful with their venture, the loan will be paid back and they can re-lend to someone else in the future. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
I’ve given my own micro-loan too. It’s my second one. The first one I gave to a woman in Tanzania who was using it to buy cattle. This time I’m giving a little more and lending to a group from Brazzaville, Congo. One of the leaders of the group, Edoxie, is the leader of this nine member micro-entrepreneur group. She sells fish and her goal is to diversify the quality and variety of fish to attract more customers and grow her business. Her future plans are to become a wholesaler and save money for her children.
I found this group by using the Kiva filters – I chose to give to women, then a group, then to those in an area of conflict. Their are many attributes to help narrow down your lending interests such as youth, water and sanitation, job creation or fair trade. You can also chose a sector such as agriculture, construction, retail or health (among others).
“Knowing that someone out there wishes the best for you is enough to give you drive to achieve your dream.” – Sammy, a Kiva borrower in Kenya.
Sammy’s sentiments are reflected in the repayment rate – an astounding 99.01% Here’s a cute little animated video that explains how micro-lending works: http://vimeo.com/16991128
Try it! www.kiva.org – browse through the available loans and read some of the success stories. Maybe there’s still someone on your Christmas list who would be the perfect recipient for a Kiva gift card.