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Kiva: Loans That Change Lives

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The other day I was watching TV, and Bill Clinton came on, talking about Kiva. I had never even heard of it, so I decided to check it out. Turns it, it is pretty cool.

Kiva is like a matchmaking site connecting those who need loans with those who are willing to lend. You don’t have to be part of a big organization. You don’t even have to have a lot of money. The minimum loan is just $25.  The site even allows several people to pool their money until the recepient’s loan is met.

You just go online and search through the profiles of all the people who need a micro-loan. It shows you a picture of them, tells you where they are from, what they need the loan for, and how much they need. You just pick one and click to send them a certain amount of money. It isn’t even really a donation because most loans are eventually paid back.

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The greatest thing about this site is that it makes microfinancing fun. It makes is personal. Instead of waiting for some other people to do this, anyone can get on the action.  For example, I can go searching throught the profiles and decide I want to give a woman in Kenya 25 dollars to buy a cart so she can sell bread from it.  I get to monitor my giving and see when she starts to repay the loan. I could also decide to give to the couple in Cambodia wanting to sell pigs, or the family in Pakistan looking to start a grocery.

You can even give someone a Kiva gift certificate. Instead of just making a donation in someone’s name, they can actually use the gift certificate to get personally involved.

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