Saturday, May 31, 2014

Takeaway from KIVA

"I don't believe in charity; I believe in solidarity. Charity is vertical, so it's humiliating. It goes from top to bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other and learns from the other. I have a lot to learn from other people." ~ Eduardo Galeano

Have you heard of KIVA? Kiva is a non-profit micro-lending organization that connects folks around the world who need a loan with people who are willing to make those loan, often at $25 increments. I am giving my tiny share and one year of my activity with KIVA is completed. I have contributed amount of 25 $ as loan ten times from June 2013 to May 2014. Hence, a total fund of 250 $ is acting as seed money on KIVA today. 100 $ has been returned back by the borrowers and is in circulation again as revolving fund. I too got 50 $ bonus for introducing two friends on KIVA. You may doubt what I say, but you will believe what I do with the proof. This is my Profile at KIVA for the verification purpose. The complete process of giving loans and reimbursement through KIVA is explained in a previous blog post.

The poor and the weakest fight harder for survival, so they deserve more. They need only a little money to set up a business that can dramatically improve their standard of life. This is where commercial capital isn't willing or able to serve.  Milaap in India and KIVA are one of the best start-up ideas I've seen. They are doing humanitarian work and completely benefiting all the stakeholders.

The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention. - John Burroughs

WHY I LOAN? I loan because I can. Only capacity and compassion are required to do these small acts. I have a certain degree of positive bias towards marginalised. As traveler and native of India, I have seen poverty first hand and am committed to making the world a better place for all. Ground truth and lived realities are the collateral benefits of becoming a 'Rural Manager'. Aid is a nice but not sustainable way to help people. I had questioned myself a great deal and this made me choose a suitable way to help others.

There are people who claim to become altruistic only when their own self is fulfilled. Its pity that they lack sense of “enough”. Often the ‘successful’ tend to become ‘insulated’ from the society as they get richer and more successful. Most of them gradually generate attitude of apathy and contempt towards poor because the relationship is based upon social and economic inequality. In return, among other things, they always endure the relentless stares of poverty. An unequal society with majority lacking even basic amenities will tend to create undesirable reaction. I am not asking for everyone should have same but that each must have enough. So, such 'successful' persons need to awaken the inner conscience for empathy. To whom much is given, of him will much be required.

"If not us, who? If not now, when? " - A slogan given by Czech University Students in Prague, Nov. 1989.

I always recite this slogan in the hours of doubt. I am not seeking political activism and grand relief work from the readers. A small, sustainable and efficient way to change the world is better than fascination for a big project. I usually follow a simple mantra in the matters of lifestyle : One can change, provided the will is there. I will ask readers to help people through small loans. Doing this doesn't require much time, absence from office for volunteership, and doesn't deplete one much of the hard earned money. I agree that it is neither glamorous and can't make one famous, but it will make a difference to someone!

*I am planning to start contributing on another platform called - Rang De with a new job.

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