Saturday, November 08, 2008

Loans That Change Lives: Kiva

The first of the Millennium Development Goals is to "eradicate extreme poverty and hunger".

The Baha'i International Community's statement "Eradicating Poverty: Moving Forward As One" proposes that the solution to poverty is not just the transfer of financial resources. A method of poverty alleviation is to assist individuals to reclaim dignity and self-worth and encourage these individuals to gain confidence to improve their condition and realize their potential.

One "Quick Win", or easily identifiable solution with a profound impact, is microlending. Microlending is loaning individuals or families money in order to help them achieve self-sufficiency. Often a small amount of money can help someone start or maintain a business or get some training. For example, a woman may need a sewing machine to start a small clothing shop, or a family may need to buy some pots and pans for a restaurant.

Kiva is "the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world." If you search the Kiva website, you will find descriptions of entrepreneurs and their specific needs. You can loan as little as $25 to one of these individuals or families and have the satisfaction of empowering someone to lift themselves out of poverty. The loans have a high rate of repayment, allowing you to lend to others if you so choose.

If you'd like, take a look at their website: Kiva . It is fascinating to read the stories of the entrepreneurs and gain a little insight into the lives and needs of people working to pull themselves out of poverty and contribute meaningfully to their community. You can also read about the lenders, ordinary people like you and me, and what helping someone has meant to them.

United Nations Millennium Development Goals: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

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