Several months ago (has it really been that long?), I wrote -->about Kiva.org.<-- ~ a micro-lending organization that makes loans possible to people who would never otherwise qualify for loans.
For as little as $25 ($27.50 actually if you add $2.50 to help defray operating expenses!) you can reach someone and help turn their lives around in a way that helps them operate as a business should. These people are not the recipients of a grant or gift (although there is nothing wrong with that) but rather they have to go through a loan process and then when enough people have loaned them money to reach their goal, the money is made available to them. The best part, is that they are expected to pay the loan back.
When the loan is paid back, the original investment made is returned to the lender ... who can take the money or reinvest it in someone else.
One of the investments I made was with a woman by the name of -->Selima<--. Her business required expansion and she needed ten sheep and sixty chickens. I want to report (proudly I might add) that she has begun to repay the loan. She has 14 months to repay the investment a number of people made, but I have a feeling she will repay it much earlier than 14 months.
I was reminded of a story about a very wealthy businessman during the depression. He passed by what we would call a beggar with a tin cup and a few pencils in the cup ~ if someone wanted to take them. The businessman reached in his pocket and threw two nickles in the cup and started to walk away...he stopped, turned around and went back.
He said to the beggar, "I'm sorry, I treated you unfairly. It is obvious you are businessman, and that you have pencils for sale. I would like my pencils, please." He held out his hand, and the rather startled beggar put two pencils in the mans hand.
Sometime later, the businessman needed some stationary for his office and while returning from lunch, he noticed a small shop. He went in, and picked out what he needed and went to the register to pay. The man behind the register called him by name, and then said:
"You won't remember me, but sometime ago I had no belief in anything as I had lost everything. I was reduced to begging in the train station. You walked by and believed in me enough to call me a businessman and to make me complete a business transaction. I started believing in myself again. This shop is a result, and my stationary business has been good enough that I'm going to move to a different, larger location in the next few months."
The point being, we can make changes in peoples lives and help them become businessmen and women.
Several blogs have done articles about micro-lending overseas, and it's something worth looking into and you can make a difference for what might seem to be small change.
I hope you will seriously consider becoming a lender to the poor. Here's the -->link to the website<-- where you can learn much more!