So, it was a whole week after the actual World Water Day last March, that I re-read my own blog to inspire myself and practice what I preach. Even though making a Kiva microfinance loan wasn't on my list of suggested ideas the week prior, I thought I'd head to kiva.org to see if there were any water related projects I could help with. Kiva lets you give a loan as small as $25 to someone in extreme poverty, so that person can invest your money in a project that will both improve his or her life and allow a system to pay you back. I knew exactly what kind of project I wanted to fund this time. I wanted to lend to a mother for a water well or pump. Kiva did not disappoint!
This is the description for a loan that I found for a mom in Cambodia:
"Hay is a 56 years old married woman. She lives with her husband and 5 children in Ou Sangkae Village, Mien Commune, Prey Chhor District, Kampong Cham Province, where she operates a farming business. She has been a farmer for since 1985 and earns approximately USD $5.00 per day.
This year, the weather in Cambodia is too hot and it lacks rain. To handle this problem and to help her further develop her farming business, Hay is taking a loan Kiva from HKL to buy a water pump, which will be used to carry the water into the rice fields. Hay will continue working in her business in order to boost income for her family and provide them a better quality of life.
She is thankful to all lenders for their generous support"
A loan of $500 helped Hay to buy a water pump. I was proud to be the fifteenth funder, the one who fulfilled that last $25 to make her project take flight. That was five months ago. As of today, she has paid back 22% of her loan from us. I have no doubt that she will pay all of it back in the predicted 20 months. In the ten or so years I've been a Kiva lender, every single loan has been paid back to me in full. I'm fine without my 25 bucks for as long as it takes. In fact, truth be told, I'd be okay without that money at all. But I know it's also important to Hay and thousands of others like her that she have the means to pay back then loan as a businesswoman, not a charity case. When she pays it back, she's going to feel her own worth...and I can turn that money around and fund someone else's dream.
I have faith that the pump is moving life-giving water to life-giving crops and helping her family to survive. My hope - and Hay's - is that this loan will put her family on the path to moving out of poverty with dignity.