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Click on the photo to see details of Sonia’s loan application.

I first found out about Kiva from an article written by Phil Moscovitch in one of my local newspapers, the Chester Clipper. Phil also did a Kiva interview on CBC radio.

There are many poor areas in the world where entrepreneurs find it difficult or impossible to raise small amounts of money to start a small business or to improve an existing one. The business could be just about anything that provides a living including growing food, running a small shop or even offering a “taxi” service using a bicycle! Often, the amount of money needed is incredibly small... sometimes as little as $100.

The Kiva website is a place where people like you and I can loan out small amounts of money to these people with Kiva, a not for profit organization, taking on the job of vetting the borrowers and managing the process.

So, on the 1st December 2008, I went to the Kiva website and took a look around. I liked what I saw and so I signed up and made a loan of $25 (the minimum amount) to a woman named Sonia who lives in Peru. She needed $975 to buy vegetables for sale in her shop. Several people had already contributed to Sonia’s loan request and my $25 was added to the total. For Sonia to get her loan, enough people must contribute to  meet the $975 requested and the website rules say that this must be achieved within one month of the posting of Sonia’s request. In Sonia’s case it took only five days before enough people had contributed to bring the total to $975 and complete her loan.

There is lots of information on the website about the process and about individual loans. Each loan has its predetermined repayment schedule. In Sonia’s case, the loan is to be repaid in four instalments between February and May. As my money is repaid, it will accumulate in my Kiva account where I can decide to either re-loan the money to another deserving person, to withdraw the funds, or to donate the funds to Kiva’s running costs. I know what I will be doing... I will re re-loaning it. And, when I am satisfied with the process, I will be adding more funds. I won’t miss the small amounts of money but to the borrowers, it could be a very big deal.

(Actually, I paid using PayPal)

15th April 2009 Update:

Sonia has today made the last of her four repayments. She’s my first loan and my first loan fully repaid. Congratulations, Sonia!

Click here to see a summary of all my loans on the Kiva website

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