On a chance visit to The Weaver of Grass blog I read a post about charities and their methods of raising money. That brought to mind one of the ways I use any small amounts of money I may have spare to help others. A few years ago I found out about two sites which make loans to people in poorer countries which help them to improve their lives. The money may be for extra livestock, seed, stock for market stalls or small shops, repairs, etc.. The money is repaid to my account over a number of months and I can then re-use it to help more people. No interest is paid to me.
I think this is a novel way to help people help themselves, not just a handout but a way of helping them to improve their lot in life. How it works is you open an account with each / either organisation and transfer some money. After that you choose when to loan the money and which person / people to lend to. Once your received repayments pass the minimum amount needed for a microloan you can relend the money to someone else.
Which are these organisations?
The first is Kiva. This one works in dollars and microloans are made in multiples of $25. Each of my contributions is a part of the amount of money a person requests.
The other is LendWithCare which works in UK pounds and microloans are made in multiples of £15.
With both organisations their sites list the people who are requesting loans, a bit about their background, what they want the loan for and what they will do with what they purchase. I look through and pick which I will contribute to. Both suggest a small extra amount with each microloan to help with their expenses. This is voluntary and I can add as much or little as I wish. Both keep me informed and let me know when repayments are received. I get the occasional email from them but these are kept to a minimum.
There is always a risk that a borrower will not be able to fully repay a loan but my experience so far has shown this to be a very, very rare event. The organisations have agents in each country where they work and vet the prospective borrowers to minimise any risk.
What I like about this method of helping others -
I choose where my money is going.
I know what my money is being used for.
The money gets to be reused.
No unknown siphoning off any of my money to enhance the lifestyle of fatcat administrators.
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