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Rwanda Hardware

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Last year, we made a microloan through Kiva to assist a woman who sells cereals (beans, grains, etc) in a bazaar in Khachmaz, Azerbaijan:


The loan has been repaid in full so we re-loaned our money, this time to a 42-year-old widow with an 8-year-old at home.

She lives in Rwanda and operates a hardware store. She'll be using the money (a total of $900 made up of small amounts like our $25) to expand her offerings and will be repaying the full amount within 10 months:


I loved that she dressed so elegantly for this loan photograph, standing in front of her inventory. I can imagine myself, if in the same circumstances, wondering what to wear to try to give people the sense - people all over the world - that they could trust me to repay their loans.

One of the new things about Kiva is that they are now giving people the opportunity to loan to entrepreneurs in the US. Right now, money is being raised for a more 'green' landscaping company made up of two gentlemen:

Organic Mechanics...integrates environmentally sensitive and sustainable practices. James and Sean make a constant effort to reduce their carbon footprint and provide a green alternative to standard landscaping companies.

Sean and James have been rejected for a bank loan before because they lack collateral and the loan amounts they need are so small. They are looking for a loan to replace several gas-powered tools with rechargeable ones in order to fulfill their eco-friendly promise. Additionally, as the business has grown, they need to rent and renovate a storage space for their equipment.

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