What is Kiva?
Kiva is a person-to-person micro-lending website. It allows people from all over the world to work together to provide loans to individuals running family businesses around the world, usually in 3rd world and 2nd world countries. Once the funds are raised for a loan, the business owner gets the loan and the loan goes into repayment. As the funds are repaid they are deposited back into the accounts of the micro-lenders. These account holders can then re-lend the money to another business owner. At any time after the gift certificate has been used the account holder can withdraw money from her Kiva account.
Why are Kiva Gift Certificates great Christmas gifts?
Christmas is about a lot of concepts. One concept is giving. Many of us have too much clutter we don’t need. Getting more gifts every year can be almost as much of a burden as it is a joy. For Christmas giving the ability to give is a powerful way to give twice. By making it a family tradition to give Kiva gift certificates, families can talk about the loans they’ve given over the past year and make a difference together. Individual users can form teams and track the difference the team makes. Having a family tradition of giving Kiva Gift Certificates for Christmas allows the impact of this team to grow every year.
Why are Kiva Gift Certificates perfect gifts for kids?
Kiva gift certificates are perfect for kids for several reasons. Certificates can be used all year long and year after year. Through the Kiva website and the loaning experience kids can learn a lot. Kids can build up an emergency fund for when they are older. Kids can continue the family tradition when they are older.
1. Kids can give all year long
Since Kiva loans are repaid to the micro-loaners, they can be re-used over and over again. Kids can check up on the status of their loans and when their account repayments reach $25 they can start another loan. Some of the loan recipients even post updates as to how the loans are being used and the difference that it makes. This long term use gift gets much more use and play than a toy that becomes obsolete, broken, or replaced within 6 months.
2. Kids learn valuable lessons
Kiva does a great job of giving information to micro-loaners. Each loan gives information about the work and personal situations of the loan recipients. This gives kids a great introduction to cultural diversity. Many loan profiles are written in both English and another common language of the country. The map helps with geography, not just where the loan is going but all the micro-loaners that made that loan possible are indicated on the map. Kids can learn to compare loans to find where they want to help most. They learn about repayment terms. If they start looking at the different field partners they can learn about all aspects of loan financing and exchange rates.
On a less academic level, Christmas Kiva Gift Certificates teach kids to remember people in need. While doing good things for others this Christmas season is great for kids growth and development, giving the ability to give all year will send the message that there are always people in need that we need to be mindful of.
3. Kids have an emergency fund
Since Kiva deposits repaid loans back into the loaner’s account, giving Kiva gift certificates for Christmas is effectively giving them money that they can use later. Kids often don’t need money when they are young but when they get old enough to have full access to their account, it is good to have an emergency fund.
Think about it this way, if an 8 year-old girl receives a Kiva gift certificate every Christmas until she is 18, she will have $250 in her Kiva account. That money will not have gained any interest but it will have been around the world multiple times making a difference in the lives of small business owners. When something goes wrong in her 20s (it always does) she’ll have a cushion to be self-sufficient and get her through.
I actually deposited my graduation money into Kiva and am now withdrawing it to help me stay afloat in this current economic situation.
4. Kids can continue the family tradition
When the kids become young adults, they will want to be part of the giving, not just receiving. If you have a family tradition of giving gift certificates to each other and especially the kids, these young adults will want to join in the action. In early adulthood finances are often tight. Fortunately, you can use your Kiva account to give gift certificates. For Christmas, a young adult could use their account to give gift certificates to kids in the family without having to save current income for it.
For Christmas, Kiva Gift Certificates make great gifts for the whole family. Make it a family tradition to give the kids some Kiva Gift Certificates every year so they will have a gift that keeps on giving.