Hey! From now till August 13, if you’ve never used Kiva before, you can click here to get a free $25 microfinance credit that you can lend to an entrepreneur in a developing nation to help alleviate poverty. (Teach a man to fish and all that.) I’m part of Team Ravelry; members of the team keep an eye out for relevant fiber arts-related borrowers, and will send messages to the group like “Knitter in Peru seeking funding to buy wool” so that the team can chip in to help fund the loan.
If you lend out your own money, once the loan is paid back by the borrower, the money becomes available to you again to lend to someone else or withdraw. (In this case, if you use the free $25 trial, the repaid money goes back to Kiva since they put up the money originally; but you can at least see how the system works.) I’ve made 13 loans to date, and enjoyed lending to knitters, seamstresses, or just random people around the world–after a trip to Cambodia a couple of years ago, for example, I lent to a Cambodian woman who owns a soup store and was struggling to expand the business on her income of $7 a day.
Today I lent $25 to Samvel Arakelyan, an Armenian veterinarian trying to buy a horse and a sheep shaver with his loan so that his family can sell their sheep’s wool at market. He’s 11% of the way to his $3000 goal.
If you’ve thought about lending via Kiva but never gotten around to signing up, please go use that $25 credit, join Team Rav, and continue to lend if you enjoy the experience!
(Edited to add: oops–I’ve been told they’ve run out of free trials, but I’ll publish this post anyway since it’s still something worth setting aside 25 bucks for.)