I was introduced to Kiva by Christine Rondeau. She tweeted out a link to Kiva micro loans some years ago and peaked my interest.
Since I visited Colombia some years back and I really like Colombian Coffee I decided to help Elkin a Colombia Coffee.
It was all payed back months before it was due. I was happy to help and went on to re-invest in a phone accessories store and a smaller grocery store.
Other friends Flynn O’Connor and Jeremy Felt got into the game and donated to Ibrahim and his beer and stout business. Two craft beer affectionados helping out another worlds away.
On Mothers Day I though of giving the gift of Kiva but getting my parents involved was a little harder then I originally though.
They are generous people who regularly donate to charities and such. But the concept of micro-finance, crowd funding and field parters was all quite new and they didn’t understand if it was a donation or a loan.
So we put it off for a couple months and while we were out for dinner one night I explain what micro finance was and how this was empowering people who couldn’t even the smallest of loans for there business. How they weren’t taking on the entire loan but a portion and how they were payed back and then they could loan it out again.
Lastly I tried to explain field partners to them. This was actually quite difficult because my folks though we were actually donating to Kiva.
They were still somewhat unclear how the whole processed worked mainly the loan part and they repayment terms… But one thing my stubborn mother taught me well was be determined and don’t give up… Well I didn’t…
On Christmas Eve of 2013 I saw my dad on a charity website asking him to donate. I asked why he didn’t try a kiva loan.
We sat down and I showed him my profile and then I showed him how you could pick someone, anyone. He suggested we find someone in the Philippines. We decided on Antonieta and her little store.
My father also made a second loan to Victor a chicken farmer from Peru.
I was so happy that they finally understood the process and decided to give it a try.
My mother who was the most skeptical of the enter process said.
“I wish them the best of luck in there business venture, but if we don’t get the money back will consider it a donation” I was glad to see such a turn around from her as well.
I also decided to give my brothers wife Michelle a Kiva Gift Card and she though it that was one of the most thoughtful gifts and can’t wait to pick who she can help out.
Post Script: I have asked Kiva about the interest rate that there field parents apply to the loans as I hear they can be quite high. Will keep you posted on my correspondence.