You could be forgiven for thinking that the Internet has turned into a big commercial shopping centre – a place where you can buy pretty much anything and not a charitable place at all.
We have previously, in this column, covered how you can even get things for free via the Internet, well this month we are going to look at how the Internet can allow you to help people less fortunate than us build a better life.
I have been looking at two organisations, KIVA and MicroPlace. Both have websites set up to help people in poverty stricken places like Uganda to work their way out of poverty by enabling people like you and me to lend them money in a safe, structured way.
Kiva say their mission is “to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty” where MicroPlace say their mission is to “help alleviate global poverty by enabling everyday people to make investments in the world’s working poor”. They both share the same idea – it’s the principle of the many helping the few. Both organisations allow those more fortunate (us) to loan small amounts of money to help entrepreneurs in less fortunate circumstances work their way out of poverty.
You can see for yourself and decide whether you want to get involved by visiting their websites at www.kiva. org or/and www.microplace.com The one key difference between KIVA and MicroPlace is that interest is paid on MicroPlace loans up to a rate of 3%
Here is the story of just one borrower from KIVA, her name is Benny Nakaggwa, Benny lives in Uganda and is a widow. She takes care of additional family members, resides in and owns a four roomed house. Benny is a tailor/ designer on Luwum Street in Kampala City, Uganda, she designs and makes all types of fashions for women and at times she goes door to door selling her clothes
Benny works six days a week and aspires to buy a plot of land so that she can have her own business premises and also have a bridal shop.
She wants a loan of $325 to buy more clothing materials and currently she has raised just $25. Once she has raised the money, she plans to repay it over a term of 8 months – all of this information is available for each of the borrowers on each site.
So why not have a look – remember not to lend more money than you can afford to lose, but the worst that can happen is that you make someone’s life a little better.