I don’t know how many of you have heard of Kiva. I was channel surfing last night and stumbled across a show on PBS about giving back to the community. I only caught two not for profit agencies that are making a difference. I want to share about the first one today, Kiva.
Kiva gives loans to people in third world countries. The loans aren’t from the bank; they are from regular people like you and me. For as little as $25, you can help a person begin a business or expand a business. The people normally would need to borrow at a high interest rate making it impossible for them to succeed. Here’s a condensed version of how it works. A person applies for a loan. They are investigated to ensure that they have a need and are asked about collateral. After passing inspection, they are entered into a database along with their story and plans for the money. People read through the applications and select who they want to give money to and when the requested amount of money is acquired the loan officers take the money to the applicant.
Right now the loans are repaid at 100%. Most of the loan amounts requested are modest. Some of the people requesting $100-$250. The documentary showcased a man requesting a large amount to expand his furniture making business; he requested $1150. This all takes place from the comfort of your home. It’s online. You read applications, select one, donate a certain amount of dollars, read updates/journals, get repaid and decide whether to withdraw the money or reinvest in a different business.
Another thing that makes this so cool, is that Paypal allows Kiva to use its payment processing for free. Giving a helping hand has never been easier.