This morning will likely be like any other Monday morning: in the elevator I will look around at all of the other working stiffs along with me for the ride up to their offices and think, “No one is smiling. None of us seem to want to be going to work today.”, just like I do every other Monday. The point is, we all need a little Monday motivation to get the ball rolling and get our weeks off to a good start. And you know what? We’re all lucky to have jobs. Lucky to live in a country where just living here affords us many advantages others around the world simply don’t have.
Yesterday I learned about an amazing program called Kiva. So what is Kiva? Kiva is a not-for-profit organization that connects people around the world with the mission to alleviate poverty. Kiva acts as a medium to let individuals like me loan money to an impoverished person somewhere in the world trying to get their business up and running. By combining microfinance with the Internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people that lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world.
On Kiva there’s lots of choice – you can “sponsor a business” (or an individual) and help some of the world’s poorest people make strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan you will receive email updates from the business you sponsored. And guess what? The entrepreneur pays the loans back and you can get your money back. You can then choose to loan this money to another entrepreneur, donate the money to Kiva, or put it back in your bank account (via Paypal).
The lovely ladies in the picture on the left are who I chose to loan money to this time around. They are a group of friends in a small village in Senegal – some of them make textiles and others make dishes. All of them are struggling to stay afloat. Their picture – some of their faces – tugged on my heart-strings and called to me. I have been making some extra dollars from my Etsy shop recently and could think of no better way to utilize the money.
So while I could think of a hundred other places I’d rather be than sitting in a stuffy cubicle today, I am grateful to be where I am — in a place where I’m able to use the Internet to put a hand out (and a small one at that) to give others a leg up. And THAT is my motivation for today.
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. ~ Winston Churchill