02 August 2011

My investment in the beauty industry: person to person lending with Kiva

Yesenia is 27 and, like most of us, she's mad about her makeup. It probably means more to her than it does to you or me, because it's how she earns her living and provides for her two young kids. For more than 5 years now she has been selling cosmetics to her neighbours, friends and family in Nicaragua. And thanks to Kiva, I was able to help Yesenia buy enough lipstick, nail polish, perfume and creams to fulfill her most recent orders.

Kiva is a non-profit organisation that set up in 2005, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Through the internet and a global network of microfinance institutions, Kiva allows individuals to lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. All loans on Kiva are deserving of funding. You pick the one that speaks the most to you.

Yesenia's is the fifth loan I've made through Kiva since I was given a subscription in March 2010, as a birthday present from my friend Chris. My loan recipients have all been female entrepreneurs, from Nigeria, the Philippines, Samoa and Nicaragua. When one loan is repaid, I select another borrower and invest again. I like contributing this way: it feels personal and it's clear that your money is making an impact.

If all that sounds good, then this will sound even better: today, Kiva is giving out FREE $25 trials. For the first time ever, they are giving new lenders the chance to make a real Kiva loan, at no cost to them.

This is an amazing opportunity to make a real difference. There are 4,000 free trials on offer - claim one for yourself here.
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