Yes, these are tough economic times, but I’ve found an investment that has really paid off for me. Through the website Kiva.org, I have invested a small amount of money to help a woman begin a hog farm. Rubylyn and her husband, who live in the Philippines, struggle to make a living, but they’re inspired by their 4-year old daughter to pull themselves out of poverty. They live in a “humble house without electricity.” She requested a loan for home repair and to purchase pigs. A local non-profit organization met with her, reviewed her application, and approved her goal, setting clear plans for repayment.
My $25 gift didn’t go very far in starting a hog farm, I’m sure, but my gift combined with $25 and $50 gifts from many other Kiva investors made it happen. Within six weeks, a portion of my investment was returned to me by Kiva with a note of appreciation. After twelve weeks, another note outlined how the venture is growing. After several months, Kiva notified me that my investment amount had been 96% repaid. The combined gifts helped a family desperately in need to get on their feet again.
As the loan is repaid, I have the option to use my $25 to help someone else or to reclaim my funds. I’m reviewing the possibilities. I’ve also helped a group of women set up a seamstress shop in Afghanistan, and helped purchase wood for a carpenter in Togo. My funds earn no interest (about the same rate my bank pays.) The feeling of making a difference is reward enough. It’s one of the best investments I’ve made in a long time. Care to join me?