It’s Blog Action Day today –
The aim of the day is for LOTS of blogs to talk about poverty. I’m going to talk about 2 organisations, Kiva and the work of Alison Thompson.
KIVA – I’ve talked about these people before, but the stuff they do is fantastic. Kiva is a hub for micro-lending. People who need a small loan approach Kiva via a project or aid group. The loans are for things like extra stock for their shops, farming equipment etc. I have made a loan to Rachid in Beruit who needed money to re-decorate and get new equipment for his internet cafe. I gave a gift certificate for Kiva to my grandfather for his birthday, and he chose to make a loan to Dushan for some farming equipment. My first loan was to Clarial for a loan to buy more stock for her shoe store. These are typically small loans, but the people on Kiva may not have access to lending in their country. The loans give them resources that help them and their community directly – no middle man, no taking away of any control on how they feel the money should be spent. Kiva has some great stats on their site about low payment defaults, the amount of money being leant to women etc. And the great thing about Kiva is that you can either take the money back that you have leant, or put it back into another loan. I just put my credit towards a loan to Justine and her barber shop in Togo.
It is such a small amount, and it can be recycled towards other loans when the money is repaid. And your money is going directly to someone who can really do with the cash to help them, their family and their community.
PERALIYA – I’ve only come across this in the last day via an amazing article from Dumbo Feather about Alison Thompson. She is the director of The Third Wave, a film about volunteering in Peraliya after the Boxing Day Tsunami. Alsion’s story is incredibe (I encourage everyone to go out and buy a copy of Dumbo Feather to find out about her). She heard about the Tsunami and after volunteering after September 11th, decided to pack up and head to Sri Lanka to help. She has an amazing message about volunteering – basically anything you can do to help is needed, as proven by the fact that she really had no “aid organisation” experience and her and some others rocked up to this village and just pitched in. No other aid organisation had reached that village so it was them. What they thought would be a 2 week effort turned out to be an indefinate effort. They just stayed and kept working. Alison says work still needs to be done in the village. There are details on how to help the village, but it also includes lots of inspiration on how to get involved and volunteer, and make a difference.