Friday, September 26, 2008

by Barry

Do you ever get frustrated at how huge problems like poverty are? You read stats like 1 billion people live below a dollar a day and 2 billion people on less than 2 dollars a day. A billion people? I can't even imagine what a million people looks like.

These women in Mumbai, India earn pennies to cut this grass by hand.

Or you visit a third world country and see it for yourself. Row after row of corrugated metal shacks, destitute people lying on the streets, entire orphanages filled with AIDS orphans. It's too much to handle.

We'd love to help out... to give our money to the problem. But it's just too big!

So we give nothing.

Well, for the last year or so, I've been contributing to an amazing website that seeks to change all of that: Kiva is a not-for-profit micro-loan company that allows you to loan money directly to a person who needs it.

When you make a loan to someone, you see their picture and read their bio. You see exactly what they need the money for. You're not sending $25 to some multi-national "global poverty initiative." You're sending $25 (or more) to Betty Kagwa, a Ugandan woman who runs a general store. Or to Hoeun Korng, who sells cows in Cambodia. You get the picture.

And the best part of all is that it's a loan. Kiva has had, get this, a 98.6% successful repayment rate! And when you get the money back, you can instantly re-loan it to another entrepreneur or withdraw it and use it for something else. It's easy.

So, stop being so overwhelmed... Check out Kiva and get into the game!

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