It is easy this time of year to get caught up in the consumerism of the holidays. As I did my Christmas shopping, I found myself purchasing things for myself that I wanted, simply because I could. Recognizing that this was a little bit greedy, I decided to turn my attention to a good cause and make a donation that could benefit someone else.
As I debated what to do, I recalled a video that I watched a few months back on Ted.com from the creator of Kiva, a lending organization that empowers entrepreneurs throughout the world utilizing microloans. Here's the video:
Jessica Jackley: Poverty, money -- and love | Video on TED.com
Inspired by what Jessica had to say about changing our attitude towards philanthropy and service from one of guilt towards working together in a relationship, I created an account at Kiva(http://www.kiva.org/) and began looking through the different individuals and groups looking for loans. I ultimately decided to give my first microloan to Veronica in Kenya, a woman who runs her own beauty salon and is looking to grow her business. I was excited to be the last lender needed to fund her project. The cool part about Kiva is that when Veronica repays the loan, I have the option to re-lend my money to another entrepreneur, continuing the cycle of giving, while empowering additional projects. So cool!
While looking around on Ted.com , I also found this really great article about the new humanitarianism that is happening through social entrepreneurship. I find this really interesting, since the university that I work at does a smaller social entrepreneur program where students can give back to the community. Definitely worth checking out as you join me in considering ways to give back to the community.