I Gave My Six-year-old $50 to Lend to Strangers
Recently I created an account for my six-year-old son Zach on Kiva.org, a non-profit organization that offers small loans to poor people all over the world. Kiva.org members can loan as little as $25 to an individual or a group of borrowers. All loans must be repaid, some with zero interest, some with just a small amount of interest.
I gave Zach $50, and had him choose two borrowers. He chose to lend to two men, both living in the U.S. One owns a tire shop (like Luigi from the Disney “Cars” movie), and one owns a window-cleaning business. I gave him money to start with, but as repayments are made and he has $25 again, I’m going to ask him to use the money to fund a new loan.
Lending as little as $25 can change dozens of livesI started lending money through Kiva.org six years ago, coincidentally on September 11th. I paid $25 each for eight loans. I’ve paid $300 now, and it’s added up to lending $1,500 through 60 loans. It’s helped dozens and dozens of borrowers, and hopefully their families and communities.
I first heard about Kiva.org from a friend, and then I read about it in Bill Clinton’s book “Giving.” Since 2005, they’ve had over 1 million lenders and funded almost $500 million in loans in 73 different countries. All money lent goes directly to funding loans. Kiva.org relies on donations and fundraising to pay for its administration costs.
My kids are growing up much more privileged than my husband or I did. We donate food, clothes, books, and toys throughout the year, but I wanted to share a way of giving that helps people who live far away. This way Zach can can also get to know a bit about the people he’s helping, through the photos and journal updates they post to Kiva.org. I want him to know that even though he’s only six years old, he can invest in other people’s lives and improve their future.
I really want my kids to understand that we are part of larger communities than just our neighborhood, our school, or our circle of friends. We belong to an international group of families who are doing the best we can to raise our families, educate ourselves, and take care of each other.
Want to try Kiva.org for free? Use this link to lend $25.