Loans That Change Lives

Elisha and I just loaned $25 bucks to this dude…

– A restaurant in the central park in Granada, Nicaragua

…and $25 bucks to this chick.

– A shoe store in the central market in Granada, Nicaragua

Sound random?  Well it’s not – it’s a non-profit organization called Kiva.

In many developing countries the average resident can’t just go to the bank to get a loan and almost no one has a credit card. If an individual wants to start or expand a business, build an addition onto their home, fix their roof, etc. they need to the find funds to do so some other way.

In Nicaragua there are organizations like MiCredito, CEPRODEL, Fundacion Leon and AFODENIC that work with residents in need of micro-loans. Some of their funding comes from a Kiva who receives ALL of it’s funding from people like you and I.

What I like about this organization is that it’s not a charity.  Members loan money to individuals who are struggling to better themselves.  These people simply need a helping hand in the form of a little cash. As a lender you are providing a hand up, rather than just a hand out.

The individuals shown in the photos at the beginning of this post had each requested a loan of $500. 

Manuel wants to buy additional tables, chairs and umbrellas to expand his small outdoor restaurant. Julia Justina is looking to secure a large quantity of flip flops to expand her current selection.  

Elisha & I along with 39 other Kiva lenders will pitch in $25 each to fund these loans.  The loans will be repaid monthly over the next 12 months. As Manuel and Julia repay their loans, the portion we lent to them will be deposited back into our kiva account.  We can then choose to withdraw the cash – or better yet – lend it to another entrepreneur.

It was five years ago our good friend Michelle Colford gave us a Kiva gift card  as a Christmas gift.  At first I thought the donation might have been to The Human Fund”, (Seinfeld reference) but once we learned what Kiva was all about we were excited to register and use our gift card for our very 1st Kiva loan.

To date we have lent money to 26 people. All of which have either repaid their loans or are on schedule with their payments. Loaning money through Kiva is one way that we’ve been able to make a small difference in our community.  We have been able to positively impact 26 people with the last two recipients owning businesses that we walk by almost daily.

If you want to learn more about Kiva and find out how you can “empower people around the world with as little as $25″ click here.

Posted on June 21, 2012, in People & Culture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hiya Gord & Elisha,

    I live in Calgary and am enjoying learning about your adventures. Why did you pick Nica to live in, instead of Costa?

    Cheers,
    Darlene

    • Hi Darlene,

      One of the reasons we chose Nicaragua over Costa Rica is the affordability factor.

      Over the years the cost of living in Costa Rica has increased drastically, so much so we probably couldn’t afford to live there.

      Our Canadian dollars go a lot further here in Nicaragua, which allows us to have a better quality of life than we would if we were in Costa Rica.

      Cheers,
      Elisha

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