I've been meaning to blog about this for awhile but life has a habit of getting in the way.
Anyway, let me introduce you to Kiva.
Kiva allows you to become a virtual bank manager and give micro loans to people all over the world.
You have the opportunity to choose a sum, choose an actual person to lend it to, and then watch as your beneficiary grows their business and pays you back bit by bit.
And then you have the opportunity to lend the sum to another well-deserving candidate (or cash it in if you'd rather).
One of the wonderful things about this project is that you see exactly who your money is going to - and it's not a donation - it's a loan, that can be re-loaned time and time again.
I signed up in April pledging just $25 and then sat down with the kids to choose who we would lend the money to.
Together we chose Rosalina in the Philippines. Rosalina was looking for a loan of $300 over 10 months to help her buy materials needed in her business.
Kiva says -
Rosalina, 40, is a married woman with seven children, five of whom are in school. She is a very hardworking entrepreneur.
Rosalina has a broom-making business in the Philippines. She has been in this business for 20 years.
Rosalina requested a PHP 13,000 ($300) loan amount through NWTF to buy bamboo sticks, bamboo leaves, and other materials needed in her business.
In the future, Rosalina would like to save enough money so she could afford to send her children to college.
Pretty well deserving of a helping hand no?
One month later, in May, I received a notification to say that Rosalina had made her first repayment of $4.66.
Every month since then Rosalina has made further repayments, and I'm almost ready to choose who gets my same micro loan next.
There's no limit to the number of people you can lend to, or the amount you want to put forward - so you can just continue to lend within your own budget.
Pledging a sum to Kiva would make an amazing Christmas present - for both the borrower and the lender. It's also a really great way to get the kids to see and think about how others live around the world.
You can read more about Kiva, how it works and where it works at Kiva.com