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How $25 Can Change a Community
Twenty-five dollars doesn’t seem like much. It’s a dinner out at Applebee’s or a new shirt. It’s nice to have, but it probably isn’t going to make or break you. Take that same $25, though, and apply it toward helping a third-world country, and you can completely change a community by empowering people to make a living; provide food, clothing, and education for their families; and give back to their communities through their own donations and through spending. What’s best about this type of giving is it is not just a handout; you are giving people the ability to make a living and become self-sufficient. It really makes that dinner out seem pitiful and unnecessary when you think about it.
If helping change a community is something that interests you, there are two main ways to go: charitable donations or microfinance loans.
Foundations like Heifer International allow you to make personal donations or charitable gifts in someone else’s name. Heifer International gives livestock to families, who raise the animals, use and sell animal products (wool, eggs, milk, etc.), and in turn, give an offspring to another family, who will do the same. You can donate money to purchase such a wide variety of livestock, from rabbits and chickens to water buffalo to camels. Donations range from $10 to $10,000, and each donation, big or small, makes a significant impact. Within a matter of years, your donation can completely change a community. I also like that the foundation focuses on women, who provide 70 percent of the food in third-world countries, but only 1 percent of income. This is just one of the many ways women there are undervalued, and Heifer International helps to empower and give women and communities as a whole the tools to be self-sufficient.
Kiva is one of the premier microfinance loan sites. Kiva connects donors to people, primarily in third-world countries, who need loans to enable them to start businesses. The goal of Kiva is to “connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty.” As you’re making a loan instead of a donation, once the entrepreneur becomes profitable, s/he will repay you the money you loaned. You get your donation back to either pocket or to make another loan.
There is an amazing variety of projects to fund, like farmers, artisans, store owners, and more, so you can shop around and find something that inspires you. You can fund the whole project, or you can be one of many people who contribute. Donate as little as $25 toward a project. This is a unique opportunity to change communities again and again and again.
In the United States we are all in a unique position to change the world. Most people can afford $10, $25, $100 to help fund the future of the world. Who knew that such a small amount could make such an amazing difference?
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