The world is small, and round.
To Kiva, at least.
In their own words, "Kiva.org is a non-profit organization revolutionizing the fight against global poverty by enabling people to connect with and make personal loans to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world." If you'd been reading me a while, you know it's also an idea I (frequently) get (vocally) passionate about.
Ann from Kansas City, with whom I seem to have all kinds of things in common, wrote today to tell me she's been reading me on and off for a year or so and:
The reason I decided to write you today is this -- I learned about Kiva on your site a while back and last week finally made a "loan." My two kiddos (10 and 7) and I had just watched an amazing show on PBS, following the education challenges of seven or so kids around the world. It was so moving and my kids, especially the 10 year old, were so engaged. I decided that would be the night to finally do the Kiva thing and together we picked two enterprises to help fund. While on the site, I noticed a volunteer opportunity to translate the project descriptions from Spanish to English. Capitalizing on the rush of great feelings I had gained by loaning, I e-mailed to volunteer.
That's when it got fun. She mentioned in the translator application that she'd discovered Kiva through this blog. Which sent Kiva's translation coordinator to the web to check out the mysterious Kiva-plugging blogger.
Who turned out to be me, one of the first members of her Spanish to English translating team.
El mundo es un pañuelo.
It's a small world - and I'm convinced it's a world we can improve through simple little acts like clicking your way through an online loan or two at Kiva. If you've yet to wander far enough into this blog to read my previous posts about Kiva, now is the perfect opportunity.
Better yet, check out this video: New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof travels to Kabul to meet the baker he loaned to through the Kiva site.
This Kiva post I have a new idea. As I told Ann in my e-mail this morning, the only thing that comes close to the rush I feel reading payment updates from the Kiva businesses I've helped fund is the grin that spreads ear to ear every time I translate an entrepreneur's story from Spanish to English so his business can be posted on the Kiva site.
If you have the ability to translate from a language of the developing world to English, stop by the Kiva volunteer page to see if you can help out. The site lists Spanish, French, Khmer, Russian and Ukranian as the languages most needed at the moment. You'll find non-translating volunteer opportunities posted, as well.
I led Ann to Kiva, and Alex, too, as I recall, and Laura, all by simply yapping here and pasting a banner in the sidebar. You'll also find banners, email footers, links to Kiva groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and all kinds of neat ways you can help out just by spreading the word at the Kiva Get Involved page.
I promise you'll be helping motivated, hard working people change their lives for the better. That's a good thing, but I tell you, you'll also taste this magic rush Ann and I share - this simple but rockin' rush at knowing you stopped simply caring, and did something to make a tangible difference.