Saturday, March 04, 2006

Be the Change You Want to See in the World


We take a break from our regularly scheduled gardening to bring you this important announcement. I've resolved to make sure I donate at least 1% of my income to charity (that's 1% of gross--this is a moral imperative, not a tax form, and by the way, 1% of global income is what's needed to eliminate global poverty, according the UN), and I've found a couple easy ways to do it. Join me, will you?

Kiva is a new website that facilitates microloans between individuals like us in wealthy nations and entrepreneurs in poor countries. You choose a person or business, make the loan through PayPal or a credit card, and when the loan is paid back (with no interest), you can loan it out again.

I chose Maria Ramos in Honduras, who has asked for $825 for her shop that sells flowers and party favors. She's raised $600 and only needs $225 more. Wanna help put her over the top?

Local microloan/economic development agencies help find loan applicants and oversee the process. You can read success stories of loans that have been repaid here. I was in Ecuador a couple years ago and I really came to understand how a small amount of money can make a big difference. These stories prove that as well: a man in Uganda who made his living buying one cow and selling it at market, then repeating the process, used a microloan so that he could sell six cows at a time. Now, for the first time, all seven of his children have bedsheets. (After what I spent at High Country Gardens yesterday, how could I not be moved to give?)

Finally, if you'd rather give than loan, check out Global Giving, which also uses the power of the Internet to allow donors to contribute directly to small projects all over the world.

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