Last summer I helped the world become a better place: I loaned $25, which was aggregated with small sums from other individuals, to help a woman in Tajikistan expand her small business selling children's clothing so she can send her son to university. I did it through Kiva, which organizes microlenders like me and connects us to lending groups (often banks) which then make the loans to qualified people running small businesses.
You can go to Kiva's website and lend to someone in the developing world who needs a loan for their business - like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent - and you get updates letting you know how the business is going. The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back - and Kiva's loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.
Because the woman in Tajikistan finished repaying her loan recently, I just made another loan, to an entrepreneur named Verónica Sosa Arroyo in Peru. She still needs another $500.00 to complete her loan request of $525.00; you can start with Kiva by loaning as little as $25.00. You can make a loan to Verónica Sosa Arroyo too, by clicking this link and joining Kiva.
I really like spending my money to help someone build a sustainable business that will provide income to feed, clothe, house and educate their family long after my loan is paid back.
Join me in changing the world - one loan at a time.