Since we launched our Friendly Planet Kiva lending team one week ago, we’ve seen a flurry of acvitity on the page, and thousands of dollars worth of micro-loans pouring in from across the country. As of right now, we’ve had over 100 friends of Friendly Planet join and donate at least $25, bringing our grand total of money lent to $5,000! And for that, we are so thankful!
As I’ve said before, we are fortunate to live in places where having the means to travel makes it possible for us to freely explore the world and enjoy its wonders. At Friendly Planet Travel, we try to make sure that our travelers not only see the beautiful scenery, architectural achievements, important relics, and monuments of different countries, but they also have the chance to meet the people and experience their culture. Only then can travelers truly understand that people are people, no matter where they are or what they do. If everyone realized this, we’d have world peace.
Friendly Planet is very actively involved in finding ways to give back to the people and places we visit. We raise funds for new wells to provide clean drinking water to rural communities in Cambodia. We support grassroots efforts to get homeless kids off the streets and into educational and vocational programs in Vietnam. For us, Kiva is one more way of trying to give people the opportunities they need to succeed, and make our world a truly friendly planet.
Today, I wanted to take a step back, and give a little tutorial on how Kiva works, and why this is such an important opportunity that we have the power to give to someone in need.
Lenders browse profiles of entrepreneurs in need from different countries throughout the world, and choose someone to lend to. When they lend, using PayPal or credit card, Kiva collects the funds and then passes them along to one of their microfinance partners worldwide.
Kiva’s micro-finance partners distribute the loan funds to the selected entrepreneur. Often, partners also provide training and other assistance to maximize the entrepreneur’s chances of success.
Over time, the entrepreneurs repay their loans. Repayment and other updates are posted on Kiva and e-mailed to lenders who wish to receive them.
When lenders get their money back, they can re-lend to someone else in need, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds.