Thursday, October 04, 2007


I was starting a new painting (a house -- haven't done one of those in ages) and half listening to CBC Radio One when the organization/social venture Kiva was profiled:

Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you've sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.

I'm a fan of those who create economic initiatives in the developing world. I first became aware of these programs many years ago when I visited a Ten Thousand Villages store. But let's face it, it's easy to feel like you're being altruistic when you go home with fantastically beautiful handmade products that cost so little. What a hero I am. Not. Kiva does the same kind of thing, but in some ways it's even better because of the human connection: you can help someone start or maintain a small business by simply lending them money that is over 99% guaranteed to be paid back.

I just visited and decided to find an entrepreneur who is somehow connected to art-making. Makes sense, right? There were a number of Cambodian silk weavers profiled, and after looking through them I decided to lend $25 to Chantha Thou. It couldn't have been easier, especially as I have a Paypal account.

Can I interest anyone in joining me to help Chantha raise the $425 she still needs? Her story is here. I love the idea of a community of bloggers choosing an individual entrepreneur-in-need and then banding together to lend them the needed funds.
If not, check out the website anyway, read up about Kiva, and maybe you'll see someone else you'd like to partner with.


Blogger dinahmow said...

Synchronicity again, Andrea! Part of what has kept me away from the blog is my ferreting out similar info.
Going back now to visit your links.

4/10/07 2:06 p.m.  
Blogger Cynthia said...

This must be a serendipitous post because someone else that I know just mentioned this very same site. I only need to sell a few more things and I would love to participate. Let's see, $25.00 will buy me 4 Venti Lattes at Starbucks (albeit mightly necessary when dealing with special ed kids) or I can help someone else in the world besides myself get a leg up in their creative business venture. Hmmm, the choice is so obvious (just in case you didn't guess, I'm a very altruistic person so I'm going for Kiva and not my own caffeine fix which coincidentally, also helps the world in a slightly different way.) I'll let you know when I participate.

4/10/07 5:42 p.m.  
Blogger nadine said...

I just checked Chantha's profile, and she is now fully funded! Look at what you started in taking the first step :-)
I'm going to go look for another project to get the ball rolling on :-)

4/10/07 6:30 p.m.  
Blogger Bibi said...

Nice Andrea. I just donated a laptop to a similar kind of thing in Turkey. The org is underground and teaches women basic business skills so they can become self-sufficient. Micro-credit is another mini-loan org that does a lot of really great work.

4/10/07 8:59 p.m.  
Blogger HMBT said...

Prosper is another type of funding group. I like the Kiva ideal too. Way to go Andrea! Being the change in this worls is sometimes easier than we think.

On another note I just finished a new work where the background was Andrea inspired and then I put my own rendition of a Matisse on top of that. So it's a Matisse/Pratt combo...if that's not cool I don't know what is!

5/10/07 3:27 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Dinah: Ferret away!

Cynthia: Don't forget it's not a donation -- you will be paid back -- then you can go out and buy those lattes. (BTW I find a tall Scotch better for dealing with special ed kids. :)

Nadine: Seems Kiva is getting lots of publicity and they're actually having some trouble keeping up with the sudden demand. Hmmm -- how can I make that publicity work for me I wonder?

Bibi: It's such a simple and workable idea, isn't it? Yay for the internet.

HMBT: Now I'm intrigued and must visit...

5/10/07 8:58 a.m.  
Blogger Camplin said...

I uses to be art editor of an arts and humanities journal known as Sojourn and I would like to see your work published. They take poety, art, short stories, non-fiction, and scripts. Please, go to to sumbit your work. I believe good art needs to be published and I believe in your work. I hope you submit and I hope your published.

5/10/07 7:10 p.m.  
Blogger kj said...

andrea, i'm rushing and away for several days, but i LOVE this arrangement. i'm in!

6/10/07 10:31 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Camplin: Thanks for the kind words and I'm off to check it out!

KJ: She's "full up" -- but there are more.

7/10/07 7:47 a.m.  
Blogger Cream said...

Sounds like a great idea. Looks like Chantha Thou has got her $500.
But as you say there are more.
Thanks for the link.

8/10/07 1:31 a.m.  
Blogger Jafabrit said...

this is fabulous and I am happy to see the funds were raised and she got her loan :)

9/10/07 6:51 a.m.  
Blogger Peter said...

What a cool idea ... I'll check it out.

9/10/07 9:35 a.m.  
Blogger Ian Lidster said...

I hearken to Bibi's comment on microcredit. That was what Wendy did her masters thesis on and, as I helped her with some research, I became familiar with a lot of them, including Kiva. These enterprises are immensely worthy and deserving of support. Good for you for being part of this.

9/10/07 10:10 a.m.  
Blogger CS said...

I will definitely check this site out - I like the local organizations that work in ways cinsitent with my own philosophy and this sounds like one. There is a group here called "Food Not Bombs" who make vegetarian meals for the homeless in town - how cool is that?

12/10/07 4:37 a.m.  

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