“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Who knew that friendship could affect people around the world and back again? “How?”… By giving the gift that truly keeps on giving.
It was my Birthday not long ago, and a good friend of mine who knows the Quest I am on, gave me a gift so valuable that I was in awe when I received it. No, it wasn’t a watch, a designer purse, or some other fancy new gadget. No, it was a loan…. A monetary donation to be made to a person(s) somewhere on this great planet through Kiva.org. It is the exact gift that someone much less fortunate than I would need to thrive, to live, to succeed. This is where this shy girl met four people who are all on a mission of self improvement. We connected through their gracious and humble act of simply asking for the help they need to better themselves.
I remember when I received this gift; I could hardly believe my eyes. I thought how unique it was to give to someone who only wants to improve themselves! I was incredibly intrigued to realize I would be able to hear their story and watch their progress, in an effort to have their lives be better with only a wish in their pocket, the strength to reach out into the universe and request help from their brothers/sisters wherever they might be. My friend is just this way, always thinking of others. Charity really should be her middle name. She has taught me so much about giving blindly… that it should always be done from a place of love and kindness and for no other reason. I have been blessed to have a friend with such a spirit in my life.
The organization is Kiva.org. They provide loans to people in need all across this great planet. The loans are used for various reasons from improving their business to helping to improve their lives, to helping to pay for tuition for themselves or their children. The stories are countless and touching. To think that a $1,000 loan to buy cattle or seed to improve their business is so important to these very humble people. By most standards, this seems like hardly much at all. Here in the U.S. there are so many that wouldn’t even blink to drop $500 on a new iPhone or $1,500 on the newest laptop. These people at Kiva.org aren’t asking for material things. They are seeking help to realize their hopes and dreams to improve themselves.
I sat in my chair and tried to put myself in their place, a mother trying to take care of her children and her business. To receive a loan to pay for a new cow to produce more milk, to help increase my salary so that I can afford to send my children to school or pay for medical expenses or simply to put food on the table. To not have that ability, seemed unconscionable… to have to tell my children that they will have to go hungry because there isn’t enough food to be eaten… I sat for a moment shaking my head; this shouldn’t be the case in today’s world.
These people were not asking for a hand-out. They were graciously asking for a loan, a monetary donation that they would return. I knew in my heart that once I lent that money, I would quickly forget I even had it. And if I did have it, perhaps it would not be invested as wisely. So, the choice of what to do was obvious.
Here is a short video about their mission:
So, I decided to head to the website and see where my gift could make a difference.
In making a loan to an individual, the possibilities were endless. I could choose which country, what demographic, what sector was the emphasis, and the dollar amount. Most loan donations begin at $25 and go up for your choosing. The loans requested would be considered modest by U.S. standards, that is anywhere from $500 up to around $5,000. The loan progress is shown in current time, that is, the percentage of the loan that has been acquired thus far. The story of why the loan is needed and a little background information is also shared as well as a picture. The pictures alone were touching. These were simple people asking for help to acquire or achieve simple things.
I found my heart had begun to leap as I felt an excitement to read the stories and find recipients. I decided to match my friend’s donation. The stories were all touching but in the end, I decided to pick four people to start… and these were the recipients:
- Edith Carmita- Ecquador http://www.kiva.org/lend/807031
- Edna- Israel http://www.kiva.org/lend/812394
- Florence’s Group-Kenya http://www.kiva.org/lend/805277
- Poniyah – Indonesia http://www.kiva.org/lend/808453
These were four women who spoke to my heart with their stories, their challenges, their goals and their spirits. Their percentage of loan acquirements vary, from 5% funded to 90% funded and everywhere in between. There were so many hopeful and inspiring stories on this site, it was difficult to choose. The beauty of the program is that after the loan is repaid, you can withdraw your money if you so choose, or re-loan it again and again and again!
These individuals certainly do not have easy lives, but they have happiness. They have learned to be content with very little. Not reliant on a gadget to provide instant gratification. No, their fulfillment comes from providing food for their families, going to school to better themselves and increase opportunity for success and most importantly enjoying the very simple pleasures in life. They are people who know the true secrets to a content and happy life. Less is more…. To give is to receive… Strength comes from within… and to never give up dreaming and trying to achieve success!
After gifting these people a portion of their loan, I felt euphoric. I was excited to watch their progress and see where the road will lead them. Yes, people I had never met. People, who lived a world away. People, who have very little and to them, the loan is the key to their dreams. The amount I helped them with is only a small portion, but if everyone gave just a little, the dreams that could be gifted would be nothing short of sensational!!!
It was a very giving friend who introduced me to Kiva.org, but more importantly she gave me another loving gift to give to those that truly are in need. Today, this shy girl lent an amount she had been gifted in the hope of making a big difference. She matched the amount in the birthday account to gift people she had never met across the planet with a simple loan that could change a life and better a future. Feeling happy, a sense of exhilaration and faith that the gift will bring prosperity to those who have the courage to stand by their dreams and see them come true!
Thank you my good friend, for your birthday gift. It will touch people we have never met but I know will do their best to follow through with their goals. I am fortunate to have learned the gift of charity through your acts of love and kindness. Please know this world is a better place because you are in it!!!
My heart is joyful… proving without a shadow of a doubt, that it is in giving that we receive.
Wondering what tomorrow will bring…
*An additional note to be gladly made, I logged onto the different recipients prior to publishing this post, and 2 of the 3 loan requests were fully funded… Does it get better than that?!?!? *