.......... .. .. ........... "Once In A While You Get Shown The Light In The Strangest Of Places If You Look At It Right" :Robert Hunter

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Another opportunity to do something of value

Well it's Thanksgiving and most of us as a nation have a lot to be thankful for, even in tough economic times like these. So here is another opportunity to do something of value (not just a Christian opportunity. . . . . don't want to go there) and here is why you should help.

More than 1 billion people live in absolute poverty.
500 million people are at the edge of starvation.
200 million children are being exploited as laborers.
Half of the human beings on the planet live on less than $2/day.
1.5 billion people do not have enough money to buy food.

For those who are Christian or have a Christian set of values.
So what is a follower of Christ called to do according to the Bible?
Ephesians 2:10 "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them" So we are made to do "good works". What would these "good works" look like? John the Baptist who Jesus called the greatest of the Prophets said In Luke 3 that unless you bear "good fruit" you will be cut off from the branch. What did "good fruit" look like to John? He said in Luke 3:11 "He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none, and he who has food , let him do likewise."

What does God promise to those who help others by giving? God says TEST ME!
Malachi 3:10-12) "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. {11} I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. {12} "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty." It is the only place in the bible where it says to test God.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:38)"

So here is a great place to help people who need a hand up to get to a place where they can help themselves.

It is called Kiva. Kiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. How it works is you loan money to someone who can't get a conventional loan so they can start a business and help themselves get out of poverty. http://www.kiva.org/about/

Kiva works and is low risk. As of November 2009, Kiva has facilitated over $100 million in loans at a repayment rate of 98.95%.

Kiva was born of the following beliefs:
•People are by nature generous, and will help others if given the opportunity to do so in a transparent, accountable way. (THAT'S YOU)

•The poor are highly motivated and can be very successful when given an opportunity.

•By connecting people we can create relationships beyond financial transactions, and build a global community expressing support and encouragement of one another. (THAT'S US)

Kiva partners with existing microfinance institutions around the world (they call them Field Partners). These organizations have expertise in microfinance and a mission to alleviate poverty facilitate Kiva loans on the ground. These Field Partners know their local area and clients and do all the leg work required to get Kiva loans to the entrepreneurs posted on Kiva.org.

Lenders browse loan requests and select which ones they'd like to fund. Lenders can fund as little as $25 and as much as the entire amount of the loan. To help streamline the loan transaction process, loan requests posted by the Field Partner are rounded up to the nearest $25 increment. Kiva aggregates funds from Kiva lenders and provides them to the Field Partner.

The Field Partner collects repayments from Kiva entrepreneurs as well as any interest due and lets Kiva know if a repayment was not made as scheduled. Interest rates are set by the Field Partner, and that interest is used to cover the Field Partner's operating costs. Kiva doesn't charge interest to its Field Partners and does not provide interest to lenders.

If there is already money in the Field Partner's account, or once their payment is received, Kiva uses these funds to credit the appropriate lenders with their loan repayments. Lenders can re-lend their funds to another entrepreneur, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds via PayPal.

Kiva is Global and it helps those who can't get help in other ways
81.82% of Kiva loans have been made to women entrepreneurs who are often in male dominated societies where help would not be available.

Here is an example of what Kiva does

Pendo Luisi from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
PENDO, age 27, was a kindergarten teacher until she had her second child 9 months ago. Seeing that her teacher’s salary would not be enough to support her household, which includes her younger sister, 2 children, and an assistant, she left teaching and began selling merchandise door-to-door. She sells new handbags, shoes, bed sheets, and fabrics, and makes about $10-$14 a day from this trade. From the profits, she opened a small snack shop 3 months ago and now hires a shop assistant so that she can continue selling door-to-door. The shop brings in a profit of around $3-$5 a day. With her savings and a new loan, Pendo hopes to open a new business, a cafĂ©.

Pendo belongs to the group Dhahabu (Swahili for “gold”), which consists of 36 other members who keep each other accountable and insure one another in paying back their loans.

Her loan amount was $175.00 and she paid it back in four months.

Once you get paid back you can just help someone else (the gift that keeps giving and giving).

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