(or one quick way to make a difference in someone else’s life today)
Micro loans are a great way – and a very low-risk way – to make difference in the lives of individuals, families and communities in third world countries around the world. The organisation I use is called Kiva.org
Starting in amounts of $25 (with a small service fee) you can select individuals and groups to loan amounts to. Each potential loanee describes their project – which might be about farming, a small business, retail, education, and might be a capital investment such as a sewing machine, or supplies such as fabric, seed or goods for a shop. The total amount is usually a couple of thousand dollars, but you can loan just $25, so a large number of people are involved in each loan. Terms are usually for a few months, and so far I seem to have a 100% repayment rate.
Each loan project comes with a photograph of the people involved,a mini-biography including the country they are from, and an outline of the project. While you might not make money out of this, on the whole I find it as satisfying as investing on the stock market. At least i know this money helps someone to become self-sufficient. And I admire the level of ingenuity and entrpreneurism require to survive in some of these countries. And every so often you get an email to tell you a loan is partially or completely repaid.
So there you are – an easy and relatively cheap way to really make a difference. If this has piqued your interest, click here to find out more.