There is nothing more powerful than a woman with a dream. All around the world, at this very moment, there are millions of women dreaming of starting their own business and watching it grow. And luckily for them, and all of us who reap the benefits of their hard work and dedication, there is an organization that helps turn their dreams into a reality. The organization is called Kiva.org, and it’s making it easier than ever to support women around the world gain control over their own lives.
Kiva.org is a micro-lending service that allows individuals, like ourselves, to contribute small loans (of $25 and up) to low income entrepreneurs all over the world. These loans can be for anything as simple as helping a new taxi driver in Mumbai buy his first taxi, to supporting a network of seamstresses start up their own clothing company in Nigeria. “Give a man a fish and he will eat for the day, teach a man to fish and he will be full for life.” Empowering those in poverty is about giving them the resources they need to be in control of their own lives and in turn, positively empower those around them to do the same.
The sad truth is that in most parts of the world, women are excluded from accessing financial services such as loans, grants or even opening their own bank account. Be it for religious, cultural or institutional reasons, women are often times discriminated against in the business field. Currently 82% of loans on Kiva are made to women. UN statistics show that women represent the majority of the world’s poor. By giving the women the support they need, we are not only economically impacting the whole community, we are improving the woman’s sense of worth and dignity in her family and class.
The sad truth is that by excluding half of the world’s population from starting and running their own businesses, we are short changing ourselves and the whole of the economy. We cannot expect to make leaps and bounds as a global system if we do not support the women of the world as well as the men. So now is our chance- we have the tools and the knowledge we need. We have the opportunity to directly aid our fellow women in conquering their dreams and bettering the lives of their entire community.