Australians are typically very generous when it comes to donating to charitable causes, despite the fact that we often have no idea where the money actually ends up, or see any tangible results of our generosity. Enter Kiva - a non-profit organisation whose mission is 'to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.'
Set up in 2005, Kiva is a brilliant and innovative concept which ultimately helps the poor to rise from poverty and build a self-sustaining income. There are currently over 4,000 loans to choose from across eighty impoverished countries, and over one million lenders, myself included. And it all starts with as little as $25.
I was first introduced to Kiva last year, and provided a $25 loan to a woman in Georgia who requested a loan to buy an additional dairy cow, which enabled her to produce more dairy products and increase her family's income. Once my loan was paid back, I lent that $25 to a female farmer in Armenia to purchase livestock. When this loan is repaid I will lend the $25 to someone else in need.
Darejani - the dairy farmer from Georgia. Image courtesy of kiva.org
Once you set up a loan you are emailed regular updates on the repayment status. It's incredibly rewarding to be able to put a face and a story to your money, and celebrate the recipient's success.
Please check out the Kiva website today, and if you can't afford $25, perhaps you could share it with your friends and family in support of this fantastic organisation.