I got an appeal from Kiva today that they are starting up a speaker's bureau. I'm looking through their materials and thinking about what I might say personally if I were speaking about their story.
As you who follow my Lj know, I made my first Kiva loan in April 2007. My husband, Russell, and I have supported the Grameen Bank for some time, so microlending was a familiar idea. I heard about Kiva on NPR and the idea was very exciting to me. The ability to personally choose who to lend to - whether a baker in Afghanistan, a goat herder in Uganda, a farmer in Peru, a restaurateur in Cambodia, or a tailor in Iraq appealled to me. Just a small amount of money can put someone on the road to self-sufficiency. And as they repay their loan, you get your money back and get to lend again!
My first Kiva loan was to Tamara Orucova, a beekeeper in Azerbaijan. The plight of bees was much in the news at that time and I thought supporting a beekeeper sounded perfect. She repaid the loan in 12 months as pledged and I made two more loans with the money she paid back. Those were both group loans, one to a group of women poultry farmers in Uganda and the other to a group of women in Pakistan with various businesses. I also started a new loan to Senija Selimovic in Bosnia so she could buy a new cow, her third, to sell more milk.
Over the past two years I have lent over $1,000 and funded twenty-six loans. One of the things Ilove about the Kiva website is reading through the requests. I get a glimpse into the lives of people, especially other women, that I can help to lift themselves out of poverty. The challenges that people can overcome with a little help from Kiva lenders is very inspiring.
One woman makes her living buying salt in bulk and packaging it for sale by small groceries. She wanted a loan so that she could make a larger bulk purchase and so get a better profit. What could be more basic?
Another that I particularly remember was someone who made food that she sold at the crossroads to workers passing buy. The recipe had brains and other organ meats in it and sounded quite awful but the loan application said it was much sought after and she needed money to make more. That one was funded so fast that my donation wasn't accepted.
Being a Kiva lender has enriched my life and made me feel that I could make a difference to individual lives around the world. It is a blessing and a delight and I hope that you will join me in becoming a Kiva lender.
Info about the loans I've made can be found at my lender page - http://www.kiva.org/lender/rowan4140
Okay, not ready for primetime, but at least I got some first thoughts down. Thanks for listening!