Last Christmas, I was trying to think of a good gift for a friend and another friend suggested giving a microloan through Kiva.org. It turned out to be a fantastic idea. What happens is you give between $25 and $5,000, and a certificate is emailed to your recipient telling them how to log on and choose the entrepreneur they will donate the money to. Examples of businesses one can give to are: a Cambodian woman who sells second-hand clothing outside of a local market and would like money to buy more goods to sell; a Nigerian man with four children who has a home products store and would like to buy more provisions to sell; a woman in Azerbaijan who needs money for her cattle business (credit marianne), among many others. Over the course of the loan (typically 6-12 months), your friend or family member will be sent updates on the business they helped create, and once the loan is paid back to them they can re-lend the money to someone else in need. By connecting people this way, Kiva helps individuals to lift themselves up out of poverty and create a business that will hopefully leave a positive, lasting imprint on their lives.
Visit Kiva to help an entrepreneur in need.