Aztext Press

Life Off-the-Grid

Making a Difference with Just $25

By Michelle Mather

I’m so excited! I just lent a woman in the Honduras $25 so that she can buy a solar panel!

I have belonged to KIVA for a few years now. KIVA is an organization that allows people via the internet to lend money to microfinance institutions in developing countries, which in turn lend the money to small business owners and students. It’s a great idea because it allows people to chip in small amounts of money (the minimum is $25) which are combined to fund larger loans.

It’s also neat because you, as the lender, get to choose where your money goes. This is my fifth loan. I started by kicking in $25 and that $25 has been repaid 4 times. I’ve lent money to borrowers in Nigeria, Ghana, Tajikistan and El Salvador. Up until this loan I have always chosen to invest in food-related ventures. I’ve helped to fund a grocery store, a catering business and a food stall. Recently as I was trying to decide who to lend my $25 to, I came across this description of a woman in Honduras;

Melida del Carmen is 35 years old, married, and has five children. She and her husband are coffee growers. They currently have four manzanas (one manzana = 1.68 acres) of coffee which is their main source of income. Her husband also works in agriculture which makes extra income for their family.

Melida will use this loan to buy a solar panel. The area in which they live is very remote and they lack this basic service. Thanks to this solar panel, they will be able to light their home at night and also watch television. Melida plans to continue working with Prisma in order to improve her farm.

Melida needs $575 to buy a solar panel. I can’t afford to lend that much, but my $25 was added to small loans from twenty-one other individuals, and her loan has been completely funded. Needless to say, as someone who lives off-grid and relies on solar panels for my lighting and other electrical needs, I could relate to Melida’s request!

KIVA, which means “unity” in Swahili, was founded in October, 2005. So far, the total value of the loans made through KIVA is $256,768,350. Over 639,000 lenders have funded over 666,000 borrowers in 217 countries. The repayment rate is 98.93%. Not too shabby!

If you’d like to become part of this wonderful organization, use this link http://kiva.org/invitedby/michelle7823.

With as little as $25 you can make a difference in someone’s life. The hardest part will be deciding which of the many projects and individuals you’d like to help fund!

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1 Comment

  1. Linda

    What a fabulous idea!!

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