Most of us are familiar with Groupon, the email that alerts you to deals at discounts at stores in your area. Not as many are familiar with Kiva, an organization that provides microloans to crafters and entrepreneurs so they can start their own businesses. Microloans can be as small as $20, pocket change to many of us, but to a weaver in Sri Lanka or a basket maker in Mexico, it’s a huge sum that can’t be obtained in everyday work. A loan in that amount can make it possible to move from living hand-to-mouth to self-sufficiency.
Microloans are often made to groups, and their rate of repayment is so much higher than the rate of repayment on traditional loans that it’s difficult to compare the two: nearly 100% of all microloans get repaid within their allotted time, something banks in the US can only dream of.
Right now, Groupon is offering a deal: pay $15 and donate $25 to Kiva through Groupon’s matching program. It’s a wonderful way to make a difference this holiday, and like my other favorite charity, it can make a great gift for the person in your life who already has everything: the gift of touching another life very directly.