Having a global conscious is no longer just for the “granola loving tree huggers” in your life. Everything from climate change and war, to oil spills and hunger, now more than ever, it’s important for us to be caring, global citizens if we want to sustain the earth for generations to come. Ok so maybe you’re not into echo-chic clothing or have yet to figure out how to reduce your carbon footprint, that’s okay (for now) because we found another way that you can give back to our global community and create sustainable ways of life to help end hunger and poverty around the world, including right here in the USA. It’s called mircofinancing, and all you need to help is a few bucks and internet access.
In a nutshell, organizations that offer microfinancing connect you (the lender) to motivated, impoverished people around the globe (recipients) via small loans (e.g. $25) to help purchase livestock or help someone realize their entrepreneurial dream. The philosophy is basically that if impoverished people are given access to resources, be it livestock, cash or training, they will be able to end the cycle of poverty by putting your microloan to good use and then passing on the blessing to the next person in need. Microloans can make a sustainable impact around the globe that we all will benefit from.
Here are a couple reputable microfinancing organizations for you to consider:
Kiva – Kiva’s mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending. As of November 2009, Kiva has facilitated over $100 million in loans. Kiva was born of the following beliefs: 1)People are by nature generous, and will help others if given the opportunity to do so in a transparent, accountable way, 2) The poor are highly motivated and can be very successful when given an opportunity and 3) By connecting people we can create relationships beyond financial transactions, and build a global community expressing support and encouragement of one another.
Heifer – Heifer’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth. By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, we empower them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope. With gifts of livestock and training, we help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. We refer to the animals as “living loans” because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal’s offspring to another family in need. It’s called Passing on the Gift – a cornerstone of our mission that creates an ever-expanding network of hope and peace.
Know of any other organizations? Tell us about them here.