Recently, I posed the question as to whether micro-loans could be the new philanthropy or social responsibility. I also pointed out that the pioneer of this movement was Muhummad Yunus, who had been called the “Banker to the Poor.”
You can now support the movement of microfinance by being a Banker to the Poor yourself!
By doing so, you can help empower microentrepreneurs in developing countries, as a means to eradicate global poverty.
How you can be a Banker to the Poor? Answer = Kiva
For me personally, I had learnt about the concept of microloans back in university during some of my economics and development classes. Listening to the lecturers talk about the innovation of microfinance was interesting, but I often felt like the application of microfinance was left to NGOs or other microfinance institutions in the developing world.
One day however, as I was reading my friend Peter’s blog (one of my humanitarian friends), I stumbled across his project to raise money with kiva. And I was instantly amazed by the impact that his project was making all across the world, and for many different people directly.
I visited the kiva website, and I was intrigued even more!
Kiva…the First Online Microlending Platform
Kiva’s motto is “Loans that change lives”, and when I saw that I could start with just $25, I gave it straight away. It was very fitting that I loaned to a Filipino woman (as my parents are originally from the Philippines) and I remembered that my parents had decided for our family to move to Australia to escape from poverty.
Already, I observed that I was already a part of the innovative process of micro-loans. I was a lender, a banker to the poor. To give a woman from the developing world the help she needed (via capital) so that she could buy income-generating assets, and therefore, help herself.
For me, that excited me immensely. This concept of giving was revolutionary, and I was a part of it. It’s revolutionary because it gives the entrepreneurs the gift of self-respect. Typically, when you give money to charities, it sometimes feels as if you throw money at the poor, and often there is a massive imbalance of power because you have given and they have taken without giving anything in return for it. (Of course there are many humanitarian or crisis examples where donations must be given to prevent a disaster)
However, for long-term development, I believe that there needs to be a balance in the relationship between the donor and the beneficiary. Through micro-loans, there is a greater balance because the micro-entrepreneur uses the loan to buy assets that can provide goods and services for their community, and then the entrepreneur can make a profit. From that, they are then able to repay the loan and give back.
It becomes similar to the notion of “paying it forward”, and a balanced relationship of giving and receiving.
Be a Banker to the Poor Today
Join the other microlenders from around the world who believe in the power of micro-enterprise development and social responsibility as a means of prosperity for people in developing countries.
Check out Kiva today!