Kiva: loans that change lives

Want to make the world suck a little less?

Kiva: loans that change lives

Join Kiva, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.

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I’m going to be honest- working for a payday loan company really gets me down every now and then. I mean, it’s not as if my company scams people, but the interest charges are very high and oftentimes the customers I speak to don’t even listen to the instructions I give them for repaying the loan. They don’t even read the loan agreement documents, and they often end up paying more for the loan in renewals than they originally borrowed.

I don’t, however, hate my job because (1.) I’m a broke college student and it’s steady work that pays more than minimum wage, (2.) I have a flexible schedule that allows me to work the hours I need to pay bills AND get home in time to study, and (3.) there are plenty of customers I work with that do understand the payment options and do make wise decisions based on the advice I give.

But when I do get stressed out and depressed from listening to, for example: struggling moms calling in to ask for a due date extension because their child is sick and their dad just died and the rent is due on the first and those charges for each due date are ridiculous anyway and I would’ve never taken out this loan if I had known that on the front end and YES I DID listen to the payment options when they were explained before getting the loan and I read the documents and NO I don’t remember the exact amount of the interest charge and won’t you be a dear and try to understand what it’s like to be a single mom and not getting any child support from my good-for-nothing ex and just please please please let me skip my due date and I promise I’ll pay you back as soon as possible…………… I log on to my Kiva account and try to give small personal loans to people looking to make a better life for themselves. 

Well, first I drink some wine, and THEN I try to do some good in the world.

Joining Kiva is free, and if you join by following THIS link then I get a referral bonus of $25 that I can lend out to someone else who needs help to buy chickens for their farm so they can become self-sufficient. Oh, and once you make your first small loan, YOU get than bonus $25 to loan out, too.

These are LOANS, not charity, so you are going to be receiving your money back! Keep in mind, though, that the $25 you lent to the chicken farmer might be paid back in very small amounts each month, allowing the farmer to get up and on his feet in his business.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent $25 on much, MUCH ‘stupider stuff’. For example, last Christmas I bought myself a pair of Keds from Forever21 because they were on sale (near the checkout line, which is where they always get me to pick up just one more thing! Forever21 is a tricky puppet master….) for $26. They were white, and I grabbed them while I was waiting in line to buy my previous, well thought-out purchases. They were an impulse buy- I literally just picked up a pair as I was walking to the register. It wasn’t until I got home and tried them on that I realized not only weren’t they my size, but I hadn’t even checked the size before I bought them. My brain was completely off- I spent over $25 on shoes that I didn’t even bother to look at.

Ugh, I’m a consumer.

ANYWAY, the point of the story is that today, September 16th, I made up for that severe lack of judgement and loaned Mrs. Narantsetseg $25 so she could put some insulation in the walls of her house before winter in Mongolia. She told Kiva, “It will be very beneficial to reduce my cost of coal purchasing. Yet, it will be healthful to the environment (if) I could reduce the coal usage in winter.” Mrs. Narantsetseg and her husband live in a very old house without insulation, so they heat their home with a coal burning stove during the cold winter months.

Best $25 I’ve spent.

Mrs. Narantsetseg (50) in front of her home in Mongolia.

Help reduce worldsuck today.

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