5 years ago I had never heard of Micro Loans, but the moment I did, I knew it would never leave my heart.
The concept of granting small loans to help an individual start a small business made my heart sing. I know I wouldn't have been able to start my first thriving business without all of the help and support I received through a self employment program. And while listening to hundreds of entrepreneurs' dreams in the past 15 years, I know that often the only thing keeping someone from starting their dream business, is just a few hundred dollars in start-up capital. (And usually someone to believe in their dream, with them.)
Believe in the dream + Start up capital
It can be as simple as $50, and requires such little effort.
But a bank really isn't in the business of "risk lending". With failure rates of small business so high, it's not in their best interest to go through a lending procedure, to loan "the small guy" a few thousand dollars, and certainly not for a few hundred dollars.
So then, the next place we tend to go for loans is Friends and Family. But this isn't always the best option, or even feasible.
What is a guy or girl to do, if she has a dream but very little extra money at the end of each pay cheque?
And what if you live in a country where there is hardly even enough money for basic living expenses? Where school is a luxury, and young girls get married when they're still young girls? Start new families of their own, and become responsible for raising a young family.
It becomes a cycle. A cycle where possible seems completely impossible.
If you didn't get a chance to watch the short video I posted yesterday, pop over here now – but come back to read the rest in a minute!
But there is a way! Micro lending
programs connect people with heart, passion and some extra money, to people with a business dream. I've seen loans for $50 to purchase fabric and supplies, or a goat that supplies milk to the home, and a bit extra to sell.
And the statistics are staggering – in a really good way.
Today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world.
(Population Reference Bureau, DataFinder database, http://www.prb.org/datafinder.aspx
[accessed December 20, 2007].)
When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
(Chris Fortson, "Women's Rights Vital for Developing World," Yale News Daily 2003.)
When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
(United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 1990.)
I don't have accurate statistics on this one comment, but I have heard that over 90% of microloans are repaid in full. Higher than any traditional corporate lending company (or bank) would expect to receive!
My personal experience with Micro Funding started with a trip to Ecuador, with the eWomen Network.
In 2008 I went with Sandra Yancey, and the eWomen Network to spend a little time talking with women in Ecuador who were part of MicroFinance programs through CARE. Being invited into their community & spending time hearing their stories, finding out about the amazing changes in their communities and connecting – it was an amazing experience.
Shopping in one of the collaborative shops in Ecuador – eWomen Network & CARE
There are several organizations connecting people together to manage the process of Micro Loans. (Just do a quick google search and you'll see what I mean.)
You can even get involved by directing a corporations money into one womans hands, through an innovative program
Or, by getting involved this week with The Girl Effect. It's a movement that's taking place starting today, October 4, 2011 and running through to October 11, 2011
There are many ways you can get involved. Will you try one today?
- Watch these videos
- Share the videos and this blog post with your friends on twitter, Facebook or Google +
- Do your own research about micro-finance or micro lending
- Comment below & share your story. Do you have a dream that could be sparked with just a small loan? Or are you able to help someone else create a sustainable lifestyle business? Tell us how you'll take action today.
Thank you so very much for reading today. I know how busy you are & how valuable your time is. I know that setting aside time to write this post has cracked me open again. I feel that in some small way, I've taken steps again towards making a small difference.
Thank you so much for being here with me! ~ Loralee