Sometime last year:
As ammaro was walking down a busy street in Manhattan, New York, marvelling at the exceptional high-rise buildings that defined this city, he glanced something with the corner of his eye. Completely detatched from the glory at the height of these structures, inhabited by rich bankers, lawyers and millionaires, was a homeless man lying down in an alley, wrapped in rags to keep warm. Through his heavy, overgrown beard, weary eyes and dirty clothes, he was shivering; it wasn't from the cold, though. He was hungry, and didn't have a single cent to afford anything to eat.
A well-dressed young man, a successful stock-broker, probably, strolled by quickly. A clean-shaved white male, probably in his late-twenties, dressed in an expensive italian suit, carrying an elegant leather suitcase and talking on his cellphone, concluding another million-dollar deal. The homeless man reached out to him, extending his empty cup, hoping for some spare change. "Why don't you get a job you bum?" said the stock-broker angrily as he passed, not even stopping to acknowledge the homeless man's existence.
Sad, but somewhat true, thought ammaro. There is always the possibility of doing something to make money; getting the odd job helping out pick up things, delivering newspapers, and so on. Is the chance readily available though? I assume that in a city such as New York, money exists around every street corner, and the chances and opportunities are there. Numerous breaks abound to make a little bit of money, and some people who have started off with nothing have even managed to turn themselves into millionaires; although some may not be the most attractive opportunities (ie, scrub clean a dirty apartment, help clear out someone's garbage), the chance to turn nothing into something does exist.
So is the opportunity readily available? Yes, it is. However, they would need the initiative, the will, and the creativity to consider such an idea, and unfortunately, not everyone has that. Thus ammaro shrugged the idea off as one that cannot possibly be within every poor man's reach, and gave the homeless man a few dollars as he went on his way.
But lets look at things from another angle. What if they had the will to do something? What if they had the initiative? What if they had the ideas? What if they had all that, but had no opportunity? Think away from New York. Think to poorer, third-world countries, where getting your hands on a few dollars is comparatively an impossible task. So many hopes and dreams, so much initiatve, so many ideas, but no chance to turn them into reality. And with the value of world currencies and exchange rates, all it would take is a few dollars to bring their dreams to life.
So again, ammaro contemplated; what if there was an easy way to help these people? Not necessarily give them a little bit of money for food and water, clothes and shelter, to be given over and over again. No. What if there was a way to give them a little bit of money to help themselves? Give them chance for a new life, instead of having to rely on donations time after time?
After all, a donation can feed you for a day. Tommorow you need another donation, and the day after, and the day after that. But a donation a little bigger, if used in the right way, can help you help yourself. As the saying goes; "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime".
So as ammaro went through life, he discovered something amazing. He discovered an easy way to help those in need. And it didn't even need to be a donation. It was a loan. A loan to people who wanted to start small businesses in developing countries. The underprivileged who had hopes, dreams, and had the initiative, but had no chance.
He discovered the opportunity to loan money to those who needed it. You could loan anything from $25 and up, hardly an amount affecting most of our daily lifestyles, but for some, that is all the money they need to turn their lives around. Some people need $25. Some people need $100. Some people need $500. You can view the people, view their ideas and the businesses they want to start, and lend them the money (or part of the money) they need to get their small businesses underway. You can also get in touch with them, and follow up on how they do in their businesses. And one other thing; this is not a donation. This is a loan, and they will pay you back over a set period. The beautiful thing here is that once you are paid back, you can use the money to finance someone else.
It's amazing. Amazing what you can do and how you can help people with such a small idea, such a small donation. All it takes is the initiative. I want to thank the creators of Kiva for helping make this world a better place.
Join it and help someone. ammaro has.