This is Sophia Magesa.
Sophia runs a clothing business in Tanzania where she sells traditional African cloths. She supports five dependents with this business, as well as herself and her husband. She works hard.
I found Sophia through Kiva.org. Kiva is an amazing website that provides person-to-person micro-financing to people all over the world. You make a personal loan of $25 (or more) to someone and help them make their lives better. Twenty-five bucks. How crazy is that? It's nothing. I dropped that on sushi today. They explain it better than I do on the website, so go there to read all about it. Please.
Because here's the thing. The other day I spent over 100 bucks on a bunch of clothes at the Gap. Was that a great deal for what I got? Yeah, sure. Could I afford it? Yep, no problem. Did I need those clothes?
Hmmmm. That's a tougher question. Sure, I "need" summer pants. But did I really need all that stuff I bought? Um, no. No, I honestly didn't.
You know what Sophia needs? Sophia needs a microloan of a measly $400 to help her expand her business. If she can do that, maybe she won't have to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. She's already raised $100, she just needs $300 more.
So here's what I need from you: I need twelve of my readers -- just twelve of you -- to go to my lending team page on the Kiva website by clicking on the Kiva logo in the top right corner of this blog. Once you get to the team page, there's a big green button that will allow you to join my team --please do. Scroll down a little and there you'll see a link to Sophia's loan request, and when you click on it you'll have the opportunity to make her a $25 loan (or more, if you so choose). Her planned repayment term is 13 months and her field partner (the local financial institution which will disburse the actual funds) has a delinquency rate of 0%.
Yes, you read that right -- 0%.
Does your bank have a delinquency rate of 0% on its loans? I'm betting not. So in a year or so, we'll all be getting our 25 bucks back. And Sophia will have expanded her business. All for the cost of one night's sushi. Or a pair of jeans on sale at the Gap.
There will be a point when you're going through the process where you will be asked if you want to count the loan toward our team -- you can or not as you wish, but it would be great if you did because then we can all keep track of how it's going (You'll need a PayPal account if you want to lend, and that may be a few extra minutes of set-up, but I've had a PayPal account for years and it's very easy to get up and running and very trustworthy.)
Once we get Sophia's loan taken care of, we can move on to another project, and if anyone has other Kiva clients they'd like to submit to the team, I'd love to hear them. If you don't want to join the team or lend to this particular client, that's fine, but please do check out the website and consider making a loan for someone else whose request appeals to you.
Oh, my fashionable friends. We are so much more than pretty faces and well-accessorized style mavens -- we're gorgeous inside and out. Remember, true style comes from within, and nothing but nothing makes you feel more beautiful than helping someone. Serously -- it's better than shoes. (And a helluva lot cheaper!)