Micro Loans Offering Hope to South Asian Women

If you’re feeling particularly comfortable and stress free today, then ponder if you will, on the plight of our developing world neighbors.  Remember, the one with the most choices in life is wealthy.  Being born into a thriving economy has made my life much easier.  I’ve had more opportunity that I could have dreamed of.  Had I been born into a developing nation, my life would have been more primitive.  I wouldn’t be as educated or as nourished as I am, and certainly would not be enjoying the freedom to express myself.  Okay, I’ll let go of the lecture build-up talk and get to the point.  I’m in a position to help others and so are you.  In fact a small amount of money is all it takes to create economic opportunity for someone in the developing world.  But why should I and more importantly why should you?

I can think of many reasons and you can tell me if you agree.  The one I think is most important is simple.  When I bestow a benefit to others, I also benefit.  By giving I also receive something.  I receive a level of comfort that I’ve done goodwill.  I have created something that didn’t exist before.  I create a simple human connection, to put it into simple terms.  I instantly receive a warm sense of goodness in my heart.  I have performed a generous act, and therefore have added incrementally to my character.  I may sleep better tonight.  I may even smile more, because I am feeling more content than I had felt before.  Who doesn’t want a generous character and better sleep?

If we return to my lecture talk once more, I’d like to pick up on some truths about economics.  To me, economics is nothing more than a system to solve problems.  Those who find ways to solve problems are rewarded by those whose problems they solve.  I need some light each evening to write and thanks to Mr. Edison and the utility company, I can get light for a reasonable cost.  They win and I win.

However, a problem exists.  When the reward isn’t enough, then the solutions are not available in the market.  This is the reality of lending to the poor.  Microfinance is the concept of offering small loans to developing world entrepreneurs.

Maya in the street needs some capital to buy half a dozen heads of cauliflower and a sack of potatoes to start making and selling pakoras.  She needs an investor or a lender.  Established banks have fixed costs that make microlending unfeasible.  No chance to profit means no lending.  Inspiring individuals have gone into the villages and organized microlending activity with great success.  This option isn’t available to all of us.  Can you take a year off to go to Bangladesh and start up a micro lending business?  I can’t.

The next best option is to find someone who will do it.  An even better option is to find someone who will organize someone to do it.  The very best option is if the middleman were a non-profit organization.  This ensures that every dollar I lend can go to funding Maya’s Pakora stand.  And moreover, I can monitor my loan and see the loan repaid.  If I can’t be a generous donor, what’s stopping me from being microlender?  Now go and look up kiva.org.  Open an account and sleep better.  I know I will.

Blog contributed by Sehota Magic. Thank you.

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