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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Big Clarification

Kiva is not a money-making scheme.  It is for a lot of us a way to give money directly to poor people in 3rd world countries to give them a hand up, not a hand out.  There is the possibility, maybe even probability in time, that some of the money won't be repaid.  The idea, for me, was to loan some capital out to help people who could use the $25 (put together into $500-$2000 loans) to add inventory to their shops or buy better equipment or something, and repay it as they can.  Then I would loan that money out again.  I don't get any interest, and figure that I would 'lose' the money as time went on from people who couldn't pay it back.  I saw it more as a charitable contribution that any money making scheme.  That's why I am upset at the interest rates charged the individuals who borrow the money.  I also was giving money with each donation, an extra $3.50 per $25, to help with overhead costs.  I know it takes money to run the organization.  I'm enough of a liberal hippy that I hate the idea of interest.  I REALLY hate the idea of +35% interest being charged to people who are in poor countries.  My money that I'm giving the use of free is making some bank there a lot of these folks hard earned profits into their own profits.  I'll leave the $100.  I'm just not feeling so warm and fuzzy about it, and I'll not add to it right now.  This puts the burden on me to actually make some effort to do research and find a way to help.

I don't talk politics or religion or anything near it much.  However, I do feel that, for me, the way to help that gives the most positive effect is to help those on the bottom rise up from there.  The only charity that I've ever given any direct money that amounts to much is a downtown mission that takes homeless folks in and teaches them life skills as well as giving them '3 hots and a cot' as they say.  I'm sure they get religion tossed at them along with it, which I'm not sure is fair considering it's a kind of captive audience.  But, it was the best game in town for that kind of thing, from what I could tell.  I had hoped that I had found another avenue to give similar help on a more global scale.  Truth is, it was easy to just go there and give and feel good.  I'm not saying that Kiva is a scam.  I need to do more research.  And, that is where I fell down.  I didn't take the responsibility to do my due diligence to make sure they were really doing work that was in alignment with what I want to support with my money.  They may be.  They may not be.  I need to care enough to look closely.

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