Micro loans that change lives Volunteering

Recently, I’ve started participating a little bit at kiva.org, a website that allows you to loan money to individuals in developing countries looking to create small businesses to support their families. There are other websites that do similar things (www.globalgiving.com, www.microplace.com), but I liked how personal this one is – almost like getting to meet who you’re helping. And it’s not just a charity or donation, but a loan that they will pay back, and hopefully become self-reliant in the process. What a great idea!

This week at kiva.org, I found Augustina in Lima, Peru who is starting a restaurant. You can read Augustina’s profile here. I only donated $25 (through Paypal), but combined with the contributions of several others, in just a few days, Augustina was able to get the $825 she needs to buy some tables, chairs, and kitchenware for her new restaurant. It was rewarding for me to see so many people contributing to help out those in developing countries, and is exciting to participate in some small way, in making someone’s life a little better.

If you have a minute, head on over to kiva.org and look through some of the profiles of the entrepreneurs wanting loans. If you can afford to have some money tied up for a few months while it’s getting paid back, it’s amazing what a difference just a little bit can make.

Brandon is a location independent entrepreneur, musician, worldschooling father, and the principal author of this blog. He's all about reaching his potential and enjoying life to the fullest in each moment.


  1. I think that is such a great idea, and a great system to help people out who are so motivated to succeed. It is also a great service opportunity! :)

  2. I LOVE Kiva. In fact, I’ve been intending to blog about them for some time.

    I’ve been lending for almost 2 years now, and have made 13 different loans to small business owners in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Mexico, Samoa, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Peru, Ukraine, Senegal and Afghanistan (I like to spread the wealth around :).

    Of those, one was refunded (loan not taken), 6 have been repaid and 6 more are active – being repaid. I have really loved participating in this program and highly recommend it.

    Brandon, your cousin John has also been involved with Kiva – and gave each of his boys $25 to invest, so they can participate in lending as well. They’ve learned at a young age to be socially aware and responsible – very cool.

    Another great site is http://www.heifer.org

    “Choose a meaningful gift to give a loved one and help children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant”

    Your Aunt Kathy’s family in England often give each other gifts in each others names through Heifer.org at holidays, rather than physical gifts to each other, since they feel they all have more than enough and want to give beyond themselves. Pretty cool.

    Thanks for brinking Kiva to everyone’s attention.

  3. Sounds like a great idea. Hopefully we can contribute someday.

  4. g.Renee Says: May 24, 2009 at 5:43 am

    I remember Allison telling us about this a while back. What a wonderful way to help others. It’s nice to hear what you have done and how the program is working.

  5. John, Jen Amy, Kimo and I have given gifts to others by donating to Kiva. We usually use Heifer International to give Christmas Gifts to our Engliah family. My English family gives gifts through Cafod which is a Roman Catholic Charity. It has been so interesting and heart warming to receive these gifts. So far I have had gifts of Latrines, water pumps, a home starter kit for a reugee family returing to their village after being driven out by th Janjaweed. I also have had the gift of having an child in Africa go to school for a year, with full tuition paid, clothes, books etc.,
    We love doing this. Thanks for blogging about it Brandon.

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