The Story of a Kiva Loan

22 01 2009

This is a great video with insight to how Kiva works. It also has a nice personal touch that shows real people involved. Check the video out and then go make a loan at Kiva.



16 06 2008

A few weeks ago someone at church told me about a website called Kiva.  The Kiva mission statement is simple:

Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva - loans that change livesBasically, it’s a website set up for people to loan money to entrepreneurs in 3rd world areas.  The entrepreneurs have to pay the loan back in its entirety.  Then, once the loan is repaid, you can either reclaim your money or re-invest it in someone else.

What an awesome concept!  It’s a way to actually make an impact in the world and the problem of poverty.

Yesterday, for Father’s Day, my family gave me $25 to invest a Kiva borrower.  I stayed up late last night looking for just the right person to loan my money to.  Since it was Father’s Day, I really wanted to find another dad out there who needed a loan to support his own family.  I found Faizali Safarov, a married father of 3 who makes his living as a taxi driver.  He needs a loan of $750 to make repairs to his taxi or he will lose his only source of income.  I threw in my $25 and by this morning, he had raised all of his loan amount.  Now, he has 12 months to repay me and the other dozen or so lenders that pitched in.

I am excited about watching my small loan make a difference in someone else’s life.  I can’t wait for the money to be repaid so I can re-invest it in someone else.  I know it’s only $25, but I can keep loaning it out over and over again and helping more and more people with it.

Why don’t you go check out Kiva and make an investment today?

Basketball sharing

4 06 2008

When I get ready in the mornings, I like to listen to sports talk radio.  This morning, they were discussing the recently released Sports Illustrated list of the 50 top paid athletes.  It is unbelievable how much money athletes earn in this world.  They made the point that many of the top 50 were basketball players.

Soon after listening to the discussion on the radio, I heardBasketballs my kids screaming at each other in the other room.  I calmly walked in there and asked what the problem was.  Essentially, they were both laying claim to the same basketball at the same time.  There were probably 5 basketballs laying within 6 feet of this particular altercation, but still they were having a yelling match over this one.

After being unable to figure out who had the ball first or having one of them volunteer to play with a different ball, I simply took the ball away from both of them and walked away.  Case closed.  Both kids happily moved on with their lives.

That got me thinking.  We have so much wealth in the world and we have so much poverty in the world.  Why is it so difficult to share?  Why do we have 1 athlete making $120 million a year when we have 120 million people living on $1 a day?

I think part of it boils down to the childish attitudes that most of us have about materials and possessions.  We think we are entitled to things and that we have to build up territorial walls to protect that which is rightfully ours.  We think that we have earned everything we have.  We don’t think we should be the ones to share.  Our hearts go out to those less fortunate than us, but when it comes down to giving from what we have, we are unwilling to pull the trigger.

And, I am talking to myself as much as anyone else.  I try to help those around me and give as generously as I can.  But, when push comes to shove, I want to make sure that my family is comfortable and has a future protected against financial constraints.

So, what will it take for the world to change?  What will it take for me to change?  What will it take for some of us to give up the basketball we are all trying to hold on to and pick up another one of our many basketballs laying beside us on the floor?  What governing body has the guts and the power to swoop in and redistribute the basketball from the spoiled screaming bunch of us and give it to a kid that has never even laid eyes on a basketball before?

Do I ask for too much?

Maybe the best thing I can personally do to help is to break this materialistic cycle with my kids.  I want to not only teach them that there are poor people in the world, but I want them to catch glimpses of what it feels like to be in need.  Be it through our friends at the Samaritan Inn, by helping people we meet on the streets, through people that walk through our church doors, or through some other avenue, I want them to have personal relationships with those in our midst that know what it means to live in need.  I want them to recognize the gap between the wealthy and the poor and look for ways to bridge it.

Maybe we need to gather up our basketballs and take them to the Samaritan Inn…

Afterall, it’s not the one with the most basketballs who wins the prize…but it may be the one who gives the most away…