The Kiva group knew the diagram wasn’t strictly accurate and that the time limitation wasn’t hard and fast, but they didn’t mind if the actual lending details were a little fuzzy. They understood that a good story tied to a sense of urgency helped people open their pocketbooks.
We didn’t question any of this for quite some time. Now that we have a better understanding of how it all goes down, we no longer focus on the time countdown when we look for someone to help. This week, we donated to Corazon from the Philippines. She needs a loan of $100 in order to get a sanitary toilet. A sanitary toilet doesn’t seem like a lot to ask but, as I type this, there are several other people on the website seeking the very same type of loan. According to Kiva, “This loan is special because it helps protect families who are most vulnerable to waterborne diseases.”
So, how do things really work with this type of microloan? If the internet is telling us the truth (the little scamp has been known to fib on occasion), our latest donation didn’t go to Corazon, not directly. She’d already received her needed funds from Kiva’s field partner, Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF), an organization created “to help women achieve self-sufficiency, particularly in the province of Negros Occidental’s low-income communities.” NWTF has already vetted Corazon, completed the paperwork, and given her the money. The money we’re donating goes to Kiva, who gives it to NWTF. This is better for Corazon, who doesn’t have to worry if a last-minute computer hiccup will kill her deal.
In time, she’ll likely pay back the money she owes. Not everyone pays back their loan, but 96% of the borrowers will. Corazon will repay NWTF, NWTF will repay Kiva, Kiva will return our donation, and we’ll lend it out again. Our donation withers in time because we also donate a few bucks to keep Kiva going. They say it cost them $3.75 to process a loan, so we cover that and throw in a little more. Every now and then, we add a few dollars to the donation kitty so that we can stay in the game.
Since we believe this is how the system work, why do we bother reading the individual stories and picking someone to receive our donation? Because the Kiva group is right. Reading each story makes the cause seem more real, more urgent, and it gives us a better sense of satisfaction when we participate. We donate to other causes, almost all of them locally, but that’s for our immediate neighbors. For the neighbors that are several thousand miles away, a good tale is a strong motivation.
This coming Thursday is the USA’s Thanksgiving. Since we can’t be with family, we’ll be with friends that day. I’m thankful for so many things, including having a sanitary toilet. If you celebrate the holiday, I hope it’s a good one for you.
I don’t extend those same good wishes toward The Walt Disney Company. Despite having another banner year, they continue to cheat the little guys. #DisneyMustPay. No Disney+ for us, no Disneyland for us, no Disney World for us, no Disney toys for the babies I love. If Mickey Mouse comes to the house, I’ll slam the door in his face.
You, I like. Mickey and company? They’re dicks.