Today I joined KIVA and initiated my first micro-loan. Hopefully I'm late to the party and most TPG readers have already joined KIVA. If you haven't heard, KIVA is a non-profit organization thats facilitates interest-free loans through micro-lending institutions around the world. "KIVA is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe." Learn more about KIVA directly from their website. If you've heard about KIVA but haven't looked into it, please consider acting right now. It literally takes 2 minutes to set up your membership and make a deposit by PayPal or credit card. You can immediately browse profiles of entrepreneurs from around the world and learn about their stories and goals. Loans are given in $25 increments, while multiple KIVA members can pool their micro-loans to meet total loan requests. Many of the micro-lending institutions have excellent track records with very low delinquency rates (rates that certainly rival many US credit institutions these days). In the event your loan is repaid, your money is returned to your account so that you may withdraw it or make another loan.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Indeed, in many situations these micro-loans can be seeds that help people to empower themselves and their communities. Here are 11 discussion points proposed by KIVA. Please consider KIVA as a way to lend a helping, empowering hand to the less fortunate.