Friday, April 11, 2008

Kiva Update

Señor de Exaltacion Group (Bolivia)

An email update on a loan installment payment reminded me that I haven’t blogged recently about Kiva, the microloan organization. Kiva actually inspired this blog — I was so happy to discover the group, I wanted to share the experience with others. For those who are new to Kiva, here’s how it works: Visit the site, browse “microloan” requests from very low-income entrepreneurs around the world, and join with others in helping to fund a loan for as little as $25/person. The repayment rate is very high (when the loan is repaid you get the money back); Kiva doesn’t take a cut so 100% of the funds goes to the loan; and one is funding entrepreneurial activities that can help women (and now also a few men) raise themselves out of poverty.

I’m currently helping to fund four individual entrepreneurs and two groups. The Señor de Exaltacion group in Bolivia’s Villa Tejada Zone (top of page) is comprised of 16 women who run small shops and make clothing. (Love the hats!) In the Kaksija Group in Guatemala (below), women come together to speak their indigenous language (which I don’t have the diacritical marks to spell) and support themselves making traditional artisan textiles, including embroidered Mayan blouses.

Hannah H.
in Mankessim, Ghana (below), sells gari (milled and roasted cassava), salt, maize and earthenware bowls in a local market. She requested a microloan to purchase more supplies to see her through the slow season.

I also have microloans out with Vaiauau I., a seamstress in Samoa; the Condori family in La Paz, Bolivia, who are finishing a house; and Mabel O., who sells soft drinks and pepper soup out of of a small roadside stand in Benin City, Nigeria. You can check out all these on my Kiva lender page.

Today’s mitzvah: Do you have an extra $25? Check out Kiva and see if microloans are right for you.

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