Personal ponderings from a natural night-owl!

Posts tagged ‘Philanthropy’

No Books to Read

This article on CNN today was supposed to be a quick read, but it stopped me in my tracks. This man from Ethiopia received a $1200 grant twenty-two years ago to buy books for the children in his home country – but he couldn’t because there weren’t any books written in the language. Can you imagine that? NO BOOKS written in that language, and no books relating the stories, poems, songs, history, and culture of an entire people. That boggles my mind.

So what did he do? He became an author! Bravo. He has since established a children’s library of 15,000 books in Ethiopia.

This story reminded me not to take for granted the vast wealth of knowledge and access to knowledge that my family and I enjoy every day.

Small Drops Make an Ocean

*tap*tap*tap*

Anyone still out there? Somehow, I got busy doing other things and blogging took a backseat to life for…um…almost 6 months. But I made an new discovery that I have to share with you, so my blogging haitus has to come to a close!

Just so you know, I believe that one person CAN make a difference.

I believe that the entire world is my neighborhood.

I believe in helping others to help themselves.

I believe that I am truly blessed and therefore have a responsibility to share my blessings with others.

I believe that the distribution of my two most precious resources – time AND money – shed a spotlight on what I truly value.

So…here’s the problem. I like to help others, but I am usually reluctant to give money because of the potential for misuse and abuse. And, too, a large percentage of cash donations is too often used for program administration and doesn’t directly benefit the intended recipient. The solution to this problem is to give of my time and talent, but it feels hard for me to make a difference in the wider world community with my time and talent alone. But I found a website that solves my problem.

Kiva LogoIt’s called KIVA and it helps willing lenders make loans as small as $25 to entrepreneurs in need in developing countries. Notice, I said LOANS – not gifts – so the money comes back to you. It’s called microfinancing. This person-to-person small scale financing is neat, but the site also allows you to browse the stories behind the funds requested and select your own loan recipient. So as a lender, I get to pick the entrepreneur I help to fund!

Here is one entrepreneur who got funded recently: “Mrs. Song Sron, 38, lives with her husband and five children [in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia]. She raises pigs at her house and also owns a plot of farmland where she grows rice, making around $1.50 a day. Her husband, Mr. Chai Thu, 38, works as a palm juice collector. Everyday he climbs the palm tree to tap the palm juice, refines it to sugar cane and sells it in the market, earning about five dollars a day of income. Two children work in a factory earning $60 each per month. The others are students and help the parents work at home when they are not attending school. Mrs. Sron is requesting a loan [of $600] to purchase a cow to plow her field. This will help to reduce the family’s expense as she has been hiring a tractor to do this work.”

And here’s another: “Sonia is a beautiful woman who works breeding sheep and chickens in her home [in Tarma, Peru]. By selling the animals Sonia is able to keep up with her house expenses and her personal necessities. In her picture she is showing us a chicken while she waits for her sheep to return from their monthly visit to the veterinarian. She would like to build a better space for her animals and therefore is asking for a loan [for $150] to purchase the necessary materials.”

I think what I like about this site is that 1) you really feel like you are making a difference in someone’s life and 2) the money actually comes back (98% of the time) and can be reinvested, so it doesn’t feel like a bottomless pit of need.

You can also browse the profiles of lenders where some talk about why they participate in this site. One striking response: because small drops make an ocean.

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