Thursday, April 29, 2010

Children, Charity and Geography

The children have recently started earning wages. They start each week off with 500 pennies. They can increase this money be doing any number of activities that we're trying to get the children to do. Currently these are things like personal hygiene (why is this so difficult for children?), kindness to others, not being bossy in certain situations, putting dishes into the dishwasher, feeding the dogs and taking out the trash.

They can also lose pennies by not doing something that is part of what they are expected to do to earn their 500 pennies. Currently these are things like switching off lights, keeping their bedrooms tidy, not leaving shoes and coats everywhere. Sometimes we provide incentives for things they should be doing but aren't doing as this works so much better than taking things away from them. As the activity becomes habitual, I start reducing the size of the incentive and then let it drop and make it part of the set wages.

At the end of every week they divvy up their wages. Twenty percent goes to long term savings, 10% to charity and they get to keep the rest.

The children have opted to use their charity money in an interesting way. Instead of just handing it over to a charity, they are using it to provide micro loans to business people in developing countries. They use to do this.

I am a huge fan of Kiva's. I like how they empower people to earn better livings and how they do not do handouts. Every person who receives a micro loan is expected to repay it over a set time that is agreed upon, loan by loan.

What this means is that the money you lend out is repaid and you can lend it out again. This way you make a difference in many more people's lives than if you just gave handouts.

Kiva personalizes the site by listing all the people who are asking for loans. You know what country they are in, who the local lending partner is (and their track record), why they want the loan, a little bit of history about the person and their track record in repaying loans if they have had any loans before.

The loans are also sorted by sector, so you can choose to make loans in agriculture, manufacturing, retail etc.

Born in 1957, Mrs. Hanu AWOUDJA is married and mother to five children. Her income-generating activity is the production and sale of cassava flour. She is requesting this loan in order to stock up on cassava from farmers in her town, so that she can increase her production capacity, income and profits.

Delgertuya is 39 years old and a widow who lives with her two children in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. She and her family live together in a ger, the traditional Mongolian nomadic tent. She operates a grocery store in her yard. Delgertuya has been operating this business since 2006 and has built a stable operation over the past four years.

However, her husband passed away and she was left to raise her two children. At that time it was hard for her to continue her work, but she has since worked diligently to grow her business to its current successful position. Her grocery store is in a good location and her business is stable. Delgertuya has been planning to purchase large amounts of products for her store to increase her sales. She is a very hard-working person and says, “I would like to expand my grocery store and to open a supermarket in future.” She is requesting a loan to increase her inventory.

Important Information About This Loan
About Credit Mongol:
Credit Mongol’s mission is to contribute to the prosperity of Mongols by providing diversified financial services to micro-loan and small and medium enterprise (SME) clients and to become the best-performing company in micro-loan and SME financing in Mongolia.

Ben and Shira spend hours going through all the loan requests before they decide on who they want to lend money to. The beauty of Kiva is that you can make loans as small as $25. If a person requests a loan of say $800, they might receive funding from 32 different people.

Kiva sends out updates from the field so throughout the loan period you hear about how the people who received your loans are doing, how the country is faring and what factors are influencing the loan holder's business.

It's amazing what the process of choosing who to lend to and reading the follow up emails does for the children's geography. They have been looking the countries up in maps and on the globe and are starting to realize what charmed lives they lead.

If you are looking for a charity to support, I highly recommend


Smellyann said...

That sounds wonderful; I am going to check out Kiva and do something similar with my kids.

donate boat said...

Inspiring story, how they live and raise their children and have a better living.