Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren’t feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts.
If I asked you to loan me $25, what would you say?
Most of you would say yes, I suspect, and many of you don’t know me that well. You might not even ask why I needed it.
What if I promised to pay the $25 back in a year or two, and you knew that the loan would change my life for the better in a dramatic way.
Of course you’d say yes.
For my inaugural post on kindness, I want to talk about Kiva. Kiva is an incredible not-for-profit that offers microloans to those who need a hand establishing or improving their businesses. The idea is to provide them with the resources they need to change their lives, rather than short term handouts that don’t ultimately bring change.
Lenders offer up $25 each, and club together to help out those who have applied for loans. Since 2005, Kiva has made $309 million in loans in 59 countries, and has a repayment rate of 98.93%. As someone with one foot in the financial world, I can tell you that’s better than most banks! Every cent of your $25 goes straight to the loan recipient.
And of course, when your $25 comes back to you, you can send it out to do more good.
So far, looking at just a few of my loans, one payment of $25 has helped Novruz from Azerbaijan buy ten new sheep and fodder, doubling his flock. He’d already worked his way up from two sheep to ten on his own. Once he repaid it, it helped Tuvshinjargal from Mongolia buy more goods to sell at the market, helping her raise money for her daughters’ education. She repaid it ahead of time, and now it’s helping Maria from Bolivia. She’s twenty, and is supporting her three year old son–with her loan she purchased tools and products to help expand her burgeoning beauty business.
What could you do with $25? For me, that’s 6.5 of the hot chocolates I buy each morning on the way to work. It’s a couple of desserts when we go out for dinner. It’s an impulse buy of a shirt I might not even wear later.
For the recipients of Kiva loans, it’s a life-changing experience.
Posting today for The Kindness Project:
Be sure to check them out! We post the second Wednesday of every month. Want to join us? Grab our button and spread a little kindness.