This month is focused on helping those around the world! We first came across a company called KIVA (http://www.kiva.org) while seeing the founders on Oprah.
Their way of helping others in their businesses through micro loans is amazing! We started giving loans right away. For birthdays or Christmas we include a KIVA gift certificate. The kids love the opportunity to look and choose who they want to help, they get to read about the person they are giving money to. It makes it very real for them. They feel like they are little bankers loaning the money and when the money gets repaid they get to choose a different person in the world to help, without having to put in any more money. Of course we do make additional loans as well. This is a great opportunity to make a huge difference right from the comfort of your home. It may not be a lot of money to you but to someone living in poverty, barely able to feed and clothe his family your small contribution will make a world of difference!
Here is a little about Kiva.
Kiva’s mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty.
Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending.
Kiva was born of the following beliefs:
• People are by nature generous, and will help others if given the opportunity to do so in a transparent, accountable way.
• The poor are highly motivated and can be very successful when given an opportunity.
• By connecting people we can create relationships beyond financial transactions, and build a global community expressing support and encouragement of one another.
• Dignity: Kiva encourages partnership relationships as opposed to benefactor relationships. Partnership relationships are characterized by mutual dignity and respect.
• Accountability: Loans encourage more accountability than donations where repayment is not expected.
• Transparency: The Kiva website is an open platform where communication can flow freely around the world.
As of November 2009, Kiva has facilitated over $100 million in loans.
Check out how KIVA works and how you can help someone half way across the world without even spending a dime!