So there's been a section on the freebie forums called Hey, It's Free…To Help People! for months now, which I have yet to do a darn thing with. But I decided to change that today.
A few days ago I heard about Kiva.org, which is a non-profit website that specializes in helping aspiring entrepreneurs in third world nations. Using microfinancing, they are given small loans to be used to improve their daily lives before they ultimately pay the loan back to us lenders. To idea is to enable people to help themselves individually instead of simply throwing billions of dollars in aide to a foreign government and hoping it trickles down to the people. In fact, Muhammad Yunus recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for his research into microfinancing and wrote a book called Banker To The Poor, where he details how effective the method is.
Just to give you an example, JosÃ© Medina lives in Paraguay and is trying to raise $600 to purchase supplies for his handcrafts business. In 12 months time, he would have made enough money to repay the loan in full . They have had 2171 loans paid back in full and only 7 which have defaulted! Those are some darn good odds if you ask me.
Now, Kiva lets anybody loan money, but the minimum amount is $25. But I thought if anybody out there wanted to simply donate $5 or $10, that we could put our money together in a HIF pool or something and then pick a person to “sponsor” and help! It'd be kinda cool to think that all of us here at HIF specifically helped one person out there in the third world better their life!
So the basic plan of action is this: Donations of any amount can be sent to me, where I add them all together. No matter how much or little money we actually raise here, come September 12th, I'll post two or three different potential people that we can “invest” in to help them out. We'll take a day to pick a person and then I'll invest all the money I collected into their venture. We'll all be able to follow their progress along via Kiva.org I'll even post a progress bar here on HIF or something. Then when they ultimately (and hopefully!) succeed in their business, they'll pay me back. At which point, I'll announce that we need to pick a new person and start the process all over again!
The beauty of this is that your one time donation doesn't just help one person, but multiple people time and time again. If this is something nobody's interested in, no worries, but I thought since we all get so many freebies all the time, maybe we could muster up a little support and pass the baton to those who could really use it.
Thanks for taking part in this and here's to actually making a difference in the world!