We received a very unusual gift from my brother for Christmas. He gave us a Kiva gift card so that we might help fund a small business in a developing country, from Bulgaria to Togo. If you visit the Kiva website you can choose a business to sponsor and help the world’s working poor make strides toward economic independence. You can also opt to receive email journal updates from the business you’ve sponsored. A Kiva loan typically lasts for 6 to 12 months. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back and you may then choose to sponsor another business (or you can choose to get your money back and simply withdraw it.) My husband is a small business owner and it can be pretty unpredictable and tough to get started, even in the best of circumstances, so I cannot imagine the hurdles an entrepreneur in a developing country faces.
So while I was adding things to my Amazon wish list and getting sucked into the typical consumer driven urge to acquire more “stuff,” my brother found a unique, alternative way to give on many levels. He told me before Christmas he’d given us a “gift that keeps on giving,” and he was right.
Here’s a link to the Kiva page that tells how you can spread the word (I’ve added a Kiva button to my sidebar.)
Added 1/11/07: I just received an e-mail journal update from the woman in Mexico who I am sponsoring. She expresses her thanksÂ to her sponsors and assures us she will repay the loan. It’s great to know I am helping in some small way.
And thanks to Laura for linking to Kiva!