For my birthday in June, one of our daughters gets me a socially conscious gift. One year I “adopted” a penguin (my favorite pet) through the World Wildlife Federation. This year it was a $50 gift certificate to Kiva; big deal, I thought, I can’t even spend it on myself. Yet, I had more fun with it than almost any birthday present I’ve received.
Kiva is a micro-loan agency. I was able to go through the website and see many of the people in third world countries who wanted to borrow money for a business. Most of them needed $500-600, which builds up through loans like mine. The minimum I could loan to anyone was $25. Rather than spend it all at once,I picked two people, a lady in one of the “‘stans” (think Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan) who wants to expand her vegetable stand business; the other went to a lady to buy more inventory for her perfume store in Togo.
I just received my first payment report and eventually I’ll have enough money to make another loan to someone else. The loans are repaid in installments over a year.
What a great feeling this is!
Check out http://www.kiva.org if you want to feel good!