Oliver lives in the Kimara area of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. She makes beautiful batik cloth, having received training from Small Industries Development Organization. She started her business over ten years ago.
This past December she was seeking a loan of $550 in order to buy raw materials to make extra product to sell over the Christmas season. As a widow, she is supporting a family of five on her own.
I chose to loan Oliver $25. Other lenders came from Santa Barbara, Ca New York, Portland, Seattle, Boston and a few other spots around the US. Together we took a chance on this dear lady, lending our prayers and confidence along with a little bit of pocket change.
Today that loan is paid in full. I could withdraw the dollars and go on my merry way. NOT A CHANCE. My task now is to sort through the new loan requests Kiva has waiting and find a new person whose dreams I can help make come true.
It is such a LITTLE amount of money. It requires almost no sacrifice on my part at all. Yet, when multiplied with that offered by others it really is enough to make a big difference for a small business in the developing world.
I believe in microfinance whole heartedly. If you haven't explored Kiva before, I encourage you do give it a chance. You'll be glad you did!