Post-Christmas Resolution, Day 250 – This Is Not Genghis Khan’s Charity

Suubileg in Mongolia got a loan to help move his family to a safer location thanks in part to Kiva and thanks in part to funding from me. 

Kiva is not charity.

Kiva is an organization that makes tiny loans to individuals around the world. Those loans are used to empower people by giving them access to credit. Loans are to be repaid, often with interest just like a bank loan you or I might receive. And the lenders are people just like you and me.

The borrowers use the money for a variety of purposes such as starting businesses, buying seeds for planting or, as in the case of the borrower I’m supporting, acquiring land to move his family’s yurt to a more stable place.

Suubileg lives in Mongolia, home of the famous Genghis Khan. He lives in a ger (yurt) with his wife and two daughters. He has been a taxi driver for five years. The ger is portable and he wants to move it off of the mountain to a safer winter location. He will use the loan funds to buy a more suitable piece of land for living. Suubileg’s total loan request is $2025 of which I contributed $25.

Lenders choose buyers. So out of the thousands of potential Kiva borrowers, why did I decide to lend money to this young man across the world?

What struck me about Suubileg’s situation was that in his picture he looks like a typical person I might see here on the streets of Portland. But reading that his home is a yurt struck a chord. He does not get to go to a home like mine, or even to an apartment. Thinking of young children living through a Mongolian winter in a yurt on the side of a mountain made me shiver. Thus, I loaned him $25.

If Kiva’s model works for the two of us, Suubileg will get a new place for his ger and he will pay me back.

More importantly for me though was a change in the way I perceive another culture. Before today I only associated Mongolia with Genghis Khan. But thanks to Kiva and a cab driver I will never meet, I learned a little about life in Mongolia, a place full of real people with real needs.

About Eric Winger

Our perception of time is key to how we use our time. The most fundamental way to change that perception is to give our time. This opens us up to new opportunities and ideas from which we can build to really make a difference. ... Yes, we *do* have time to make a difference!
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