I haven’t gone to church for months, so in trying to feel good about myself, I decided to do the next best thing — microfinance someone. You could say that a microfinance is like a venture capital that you invest in a business, but really it is more of an investment opportunity where your money can be used again and again to help the poor get off their feet and attain financial freedom. In other words, microfinance is a glamour word for what it actually is — a donation (I know I’m oversimplifying its actual meaning, but that’s what I wish it should be anyway).
I heard about Kiva.org through my favorite daytime show, Oprah, when they were interviewing Bill Clinton, and he in turn introduced the Kiva founders, a couple named Matt and Jessica Flannery. Kiva’s business model is very simple.
1) Kiva lenders collectively funds a listed enterpreneur of their choice with a loan.
2) The money is distributed to the chosen enterpreneur via Kiva’s microfinance partner.
3) The enterpreneur repays the loan to Kiva lenders.
4) Kiva lenders can re-lend the funds, donate them to Kiva, or withdraw them.
I like the fact that Kiva supports PayPal payments where all my online income is going into, and so I did my first Kiva funding of USD25 (check out my Lender’s Profile while you’re at it). I know that isn’t much, but that’s what’s left in my PayPal since I haven’t been actively making money these past couple of months.
Still, it feels good knowing that I’ve helped made a change in someone else’s life. The best thing is that when Patricia manages to pay me back, I can do the whole good deed all over again, and that would be double my happiness! You know what karma says — what goes around, comes around.
For this reason, I am at this moment declaring that 25% of my monthly earnings from this blog (which translates to roughly around USD50 including ads and paid postings) will go to funding Kiva as well as another of my chosen non-profit organization. It’s highly likely it will be Doctors Without Borders, the group of people responsible for introducing the life-saving Plumpy’nut and end malnutrition deaths among infants and children in the Third World countries (! watched this amazing peanut-butter like food helping infants as young as 4 months old stayed alive through 60 Minutes). I just hope they accept PayPal ’cause I don’t have a cheque.
p.s. Will this make me feel better about not going to church? Unlikely 😛