This is Sharifa Rajab Ali, who lives and works in Kabul, Afghanistan.
I've just lent her a few quid so she can buy materials for her beadwork business and use her creative skills to support her family. She needs more than I'm able to lend her at the moment, but once a few other people have chipped in with their loans, Sharifa will be able to stock up.
Kiva.org came to my attention via Miss Malaprop and Crafty World. It's a simple and effective - Kiva enable you to loan your money (as little as $25 - currently less than £13 in sterling) to the working poor:
"Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you've sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.
Kiva partners with existing microfinance institutions. In doing so, we gain access to outstanding entrepreneurs from impoverished communities world-wide. Our partners are experts in choosing qualified borrowers. That said, they are usually short on funds. Through Kiva.org, our partners upload their borrower profiles directly to the site so you can lend to them."
|It gave me particular pleasure to be able to help a creative person like Sharifa - you can search the site by category to find people working in your area of interest - so I've loaned some money to Lolofa, a Samoan lady, to help her build up her mat weaving business.|
I Love Kiva! Why Kiva is one of the best things on the Internet
Wikipedia entry for Kiva