Have you ever wondered what it would be like to give someone a helping hand?
And what if you could help a stranger halfway around the world succeed in their business?!
What I have learnt over the years is that people do not just want charity or straight donations. Everyone has their own pride and dignity and they want to be able to look you in the eye.
What’s even more inspiring is that no matter what their life situation, people around the world can be incredibly enterprising, hardworking and determined to improve their life. And yet they could be facing seemingly insurmountable odds just to even survive each day.
All people want is a helping hand to improve their lot and simply be given a chance to get ahead a little bit.
What would it be like if you could plant a little seed of hope amongst such people?
A few years ago when I was in India I took a taxi to visit an internet start-up company on the outskirts of Mumbai. I wondered why the driver was so surprised I wanted to go there. It was only when we got nearer that I realised why.
We had to drive through some of the worst run down areas of Mumbai and the road was like an endless row of run down decrepit huts and shacks. And yet what really struck me was how much activity was going on all around.
People were running little businesses such as barbers, tailors, teashops and selling all sorts of knick knacks. It was like a huge industrial estate and though these people were living with just enough to survive day to day, they were still doing the best they could with their limited resources.
It really was incredible to witness that even within what seemed liked a hell hole there was so much enterprise and passion for making a living and to make the most of their limited means.
At the time I wondered how I could ever help them and how I could give them a helping hand.
Today thanks to the brilliance of the internet, we can help such budding entrepreneurs around the world in the best possible way – by giving them greater access to loans for starting up and expanding.
I do mean giving them small loans and not just straight donations, as once such a loan has been repaid, it can be lent to other entrepreneurs.
Just imagine what we could do for the world by harnessing the huge power of blogs with all their millions of readers to make it happen for such entrepreneurs?!
Today, you and readers of this and other blogs can do just that!
Together with Mary Jaksch’s blog GoodLife Zen, Make It Happen has joined forces to host the Blog with Heart Challenge 2009/2010.
Which blog community has the greatest heart? Each blog is invited to join a friendly challenge to alleviate poverty during the month of December 2009. The top ten will be the nominated winners of the Blog with Heart Challenge.
As I explained above, the best way to alleviate poverty is to give people a hand-up, not a hand-out. That’s why the Blog with Heart Challenge 2009/2010 uses Kiva, a highly respected micro-lending non profit organization.
Kiva allows you to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur in the developing world and as they repay the loan, you get your money back.
Each blogger who wants to participate in the Blog with Heart Challenge joins Kiva and forms a lending team that carries the blog’s name.
(If you’re a blogger who wants to participate, click here for details on how to enter your blog).
As a reader, you can join a blog’s lending team. Once you’re a part of the team, you can choose to have a future loan on Kiva “count” towards your team’s impact. The loan is still yours, and repayments still come to you – but you can choose to have the loan show up in your blog team’s collective portfolio, so your team’s chance of winning the Blog with Heart Challenge 2009/2009 will grow.
The ten winners of the Blog with Heart Challenge will be the blogs who have the biggest Kiva portfolio, relative to their number of subscribers. This means that small blogs can compete with large ones.
So will this blog challenge alleviate poverty?
Well, it’s a start!
We’ve already contacted some bloggers and have had a great response. One of the first to join was Leo Babauta of Zen Habits!
What YOU can do:
As a c0-host of the Blog with Heart Challenge, I will not be participating, but each of us can help to make the Challenge a success. Here’s how:
- Readers, contact your favorite bloggers and ask them to join.
- Bloggers, join the Blog with Heart Challenge. You can find out how to join here.
- Tweet up a storm
- Join a lending team and lend $25.
If you want to know more about the Challenge and about Kiva, you can read more about the Blog with Heart Challenge here.
Also, I have collected some cool Kiva videos here.
What do you think about the Blog with Heart Challenge? I look forward to your comments and feedback.
Lets make it happen!