«Return to Blog List Helping Veronica, and others in the developing world

Like many 50-year-old women today, Veronica has children attending college, while at the same time, she must take care of her own aging parents.

Except Veronica, a seamstress, lives in Kenya, where unemployment is 40 percent.

Visiting a local market in Nairobi, she noted a number of women her age running their own businesses. Motivated, she decided to try it for herself. With a small amount of money from her husband, she rented a stall, and bought a sewing machine and materials to begin. She sews and sells clothing from her stall, and sells them in bulk to others for resale.

The business has taken off, and allows the family to put food on the table.

But sometimes, she is unable to meet her customers’ demands due to lack of materials. Previously, she asked customers to pay a deposit to purchase the needed materials, forcing her customers to come up with extra cash before clothing is ready.

Recently, Veronica found assistance through Kiva.org, a nonprofit that facilitates micro-lending for entrepreneurs in the developing world.

Kiva empowers businesses and individuals to loan money in increments as small as $25 directly to entrepreneurs in need around the world.

Kiva is also a great example of the power of stories, putting individual faces on the problem of poverty. You can read entrepreneurs’ stories, and see their photos, and then choose which ones you would like to lend to. You can also learn about other lenders supporting the same entrepreneurs.

Started a few years ago, Kiva has lent more than $46 million from more than 347,000 lenders.

Veronica requested an $800 loan and received the total from 24 different Kiva lenders. Now, she’s in the process of paying the loan back over the course of a year. Once she pays it back, those lenders are refunded or can choose to loan the money again to another entrepreneur.

It’s a powerful and rewarding way to help real people in faraway places.

Note: Kiva.org has had such demand recently, that all requested loans MAY have been funded already when you check the site. But the organization is continuously adding new entrepreneurs through partners in developing countries. You can donate to Kiva directly or check back for new entrepreneurs.

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