Our good friends Andrea and Brian gave me a very cool birthday gift this year – a $25 gift certificate for a loan to give out on Kiva.org, a micro-lending site. (Check out this post I wrote on it awhile back when I first found it.) For those not familiar, Kiva works with organizations to provide loans for entrepreneurial projects to help people transcend poverty. The recipient is required to pay back the loan in 6-12 months time and each person on the site has a profile about themself and the project they want funding for.
I knew that I wanted to fund someone in the Philippines, so it was simply a matter of what to fund. I had 44 different projects I could choose from today. I immediately ruled out people wanting to fund the expansion of their convenience stores and motorcycle operators – not of interest to me. The story that really resonated with me was Teresita’s. She was one of the few that was smiling in her picture (an important quality to me) and in her story she shared WHY she wanted to earn more money (most just described the project but didn’t say what they’d use the extra money to do). I love that despite being a widower, she is firmly committed to finding a way to send her two kids to College (a very noble goal which I highly support). Her efforts will enable her kids to educate themselves and get out of poverty, hopefully breaking the cycle for future generations as well. Now that is IMPACT!
Here’s her bio from the website and a bit on the organization that will transact the loan for us (a local Philippines non-profit).
Teresita’s Bio on Kiva
Teresita Espanueva is one of the very good members of ASHI in her village. Since her membership in 2005, she has been able to gain trust and good relationships with her co-members. Moreover, Teresita felt very thankful to ASHI because through it, she has able to gain self-confidence which has improved her ways of dealing with other people, especially in favor of her business.
The loans she has taken support the growth of her business, while proceeds from her business support the needs of her two children, ages 19 and 23 years. Teresita’s husband is already dead; therefore, she has to achieve her dream of graduating her youngest child from college and support her eldest child until he will have his own stable source of income. For now, Doroteo, her eldest child, works as a hired laborer and is earning just a small amount of money. Somehow, it is such a great help for him to provide for some of his needs, but most of the time he is dependent on his mother just like his sister.
Sustainability of her fish-selling business is always the worry of Teresita because most of her income, including the supposed return of investment to her business, is used to support her family, as it is the only source of their livelihood. No matter how hard she carries her fish over head or in a basket held by her two hands to sell her fish directly to people in their houses, and village after village, still her income over the expenses of her family is insufficient. However, she is still hopeful that with the loans she can take through ASHI, her business will be sustainable and profitable until her child has graduated from college and their lives have improved and they are no longer poor.
Important Information About This Loan
Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc. has the distinction of being the oldest existing replication of Grameen methodology for delivering credit to the poor in the Philippines. With more than a third of the nation’s 90 million Filipinos living below the poverty line, ASHI was established with the vision of helping to alleviate poverty in the Philippines. Translated from Tagalog, Ahon Sa Hirap means “to rise above poverty.”
Empowering women dedicated to supporting their families through hard work and dedication, ASHI lends 100% to women and specifically the bottom 50%, so the “poorest of the poor.” In addition to general business loans, ASHI also offers educational loans, house repair loans, savings funds, and social development programs for its members. ASHI is committed to translating its social mission into practice.
Theresita asked for a $450 loan which she will pay back over 12 months. As a lender, I get email updates on her progress and successes with the loan. Once the loan is repaid I choose a new lender and start again. This process goes on indefinitely. Cool, huh? What amazes me most is the number of lenders wanting to help people – Theresita’s loan just posted yesterday and it’s already been filled. Generosity is so heart warming, wouldn’t you agree?
Click here to read more about Theresita: http://www.kiva.org/lend/215843
click here to sign up to be a lender: http://www.kiva.org/lend