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11 May 2010

Kiva-the best Mother’s Day Gift

Posted by fireside

“I don’t need anything”.  That’s my typical response anytime my husband and sons ask me for possible gift ideas for an upcoming holiday.  By now they have given up on me dropping hints of things they could buy.  Very often I mention ideas like “my car needs a good cleaning” and ”I could use help with some yardwork”  OR I will show interest in items they could make for me.  I rather they save their money and realize that the time we spend together and the things we do for each other are much more valuable than anything they could buy.

This year, they brought tears to my eyes when I opened the envelope containing their gift.  Knowing how focused I am on volunteering and doing things for others, they gave me a KIVA gift certificate.  We have talked about KIVA at our house, the online site where you can give micro-loans as low as $25 to people in developing countries so they can improve their own lives by expanding or starting their own business.  To date, I had not become a lender and they wanted me to be able to reach out to others in this special way.

Excited I perused the KIVA website looking for the person to support.  I wanted to make my first loan to someone who felt connected to me.  Under the Arts category, I found Laura in Peru who needs to buy fabric and leather to make more purses…textiles fit nicely into our weaving interest so I clicked through the screens to make the loan…SO EASY!  And it’s a loan…she’ll repay it over 10 months and then I’ll take that same money and invest in someone else.  What a great way to help others that are so far away!

I probed the KIVA website a bit more and found that you can belong to a group and they track all the loans given by the members of the group – it’s just a way to gather statistics but a neat way to see how a group of people can make such a big impact.  Of course, I immediately established a group called “Fireside Aloomni and Friends“.  I figured I would be talking about KIVA here and to my friends so I might as well give everyone a group they could join if they decide to become a KIVA lender.  So, if you are so inclined, please join our group if you checkout KIVA and become involved!

Then I searched for a second loan to finish using the value of my Gift Certificate.  I  found a picture of Mario in Paraguay standing beside the saw he uses in his sawmill.  As a woodworker, my husband values safety and the saw in the picture would not pass his test…no blade guard or other safety features.  I definitely wanted to help Mario so he could increase sales and hopefully be able to spend money to maintain his equipment so it’s safe and efficient.  Second loan complete…and it is shown as the first loan to the Fireside Aloomni and Friends group. YEAH!

I feel empowered to be helping others through KIVA but my heart is warmed even more by the thoughtfulness of my sons and their knowing my heart so well! (of course guided by my husband!)  May all mothers be blessed with families that surround them with such love!

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