The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

I just opened my drawbridge for the Boeing Corporate Yacht. That thing is probably worth 3 million dollars. And it will most likely be coming back through in less than an hour. Every time I do this, I can’t help but think that the money they are spending just on fuel for that one little jaunt could pay off my relocation debt and allow me to start saving for a used car that actually has a working heater. But no. That’s not how the world works.

But then I realize that for the vast majority of people on this planet, I must seem like the Boeing Corporate Yacht. What am I doing to help them? Quite a lot, actually, relatively speaking. I just gave my 58th microloan to a woman in my 48th developing country. Through you can make these microloans in increments of $25 each. And so far, I’ve always been paid back.

Twenty-five dollars may not seem like a huge amount to you or me, but for these people, it can mean the difference between being able to send their children to school or not. It can provide their family with nutrition that they wouldn’t otherwise receive, and allow them to build up businesses that can sustain them for many years.

Just recently I got an update from one of the loan disbursement organizations in Myanmar that I have supported. Here’s a little bit of what they said:

Before her loan, Daw Lei Lei’s family finances were in dire straits. Like her many neighbors who were gravely affected by Cyclone Nargis in 2008, Daw Lei Lei’s family lost a daughter and their seven-acre farm was demolished. Since then, the family has survived by farming ducks, but they have had to pay exorbitant rates on loans.

Rarely do microfinance organizations make it to these hard-to-reach rural areas, and when they do they rarely lend to non-crop farmers. According to a UNCDF research study, over 63% of the rural population has no access to regulated credit, and virtually no one has access to regulated savings or insurance.

Proximity’s loan has done wonders for Daw Lei Lei’s family. They have used the $200 micro-loan to purchase more ducks and quality duck feed. This modest injection of cash was enough to stabilize their income and generate profits from their duck and egg sales. With their newfound profits, Daw Lei Lei’s husband purchased a boat to start his own transportation business. His new business yields enough profit to cover their two children’s school fees. Now, instead of taking their children out of school early to work on the family business, a predicament that is extremely common in Myanmar’s rural areas, Daw Lei Lei and her husband are able to provide their children more educational opportunities than they were able to have.

I hope you’ll join me in making microloans through The one percent may not be spreading the wealth to the rest of us, but that doesn’t mean we have to follow their horrible example. When we lift up others, we all rise.

[Image credit:]

[Image credit:]

15 thoughts on “How Microloans Change Lives

  1. lyn sutton says:

    I have policy to never loan anything…I gift with no expectation of getting it back (thus no disappointment) and if it comes back it’s like a gift for me…besides I think I actually qualify right now for a microloan…yeah I’m that cash poor but richer for having found such an inspiration in you…:)
    I don’t borrow either or I’d ask you for a microloan…

    1. Kiva takes donations, too! And they also do microloans for Americans!
      I had to do an Indiegogo campaign just to get from Florida to Seattle. It was a humbling experience. I don’t like to ask for help. But so many people stepped up, even total strangers, that it still brings tears to my eyes at the generosity of mankind.

      1. lyn sutton says:

        When I was young, I assumed generosity and acts of kindness were a natural part of life, like breathing, and never considered my actions extraordinary over the years of volunteering and sharing I’ve participated in. But now with so many examples of greed and callousness assaulting us daily, common acts of decency are celebrated as newsworthy. It’s sad that it’s come to this but it is such a relief to know mankind’s heart still beats.
        Glad you got past your prideful independence and asked for help…I struggle with that one a lot myself, which is bad because I have disabilities that force me to depend on others to get through most days. This all reminds me of your recent post ‘Be proud’

      2. I wish we’d here more news about acts of kindness, rather than the paranoid dreck that we’re served up on a daily basis.
        And I still maintain that pride is good. But too much of it becomes stubbornness.

  2. lyn sutton says:

    You could create this news by asking your followers to post observations of acts of kindness (given or received) in their daily lives, to help balance out the negative issues we discuss. You already do a lot of the work for us and we should take on some of the responsibility. I’ll start…

    The other day. during one shopping trip, I dropped my cane, a jar, a tomato and my sunglasses. Each time someone different picked them up for me. That’s four acts of kindness in one hour. I have tremors and other motion disorders so I stumble and knock things over. Bending over causes vertigo and if I fall I fracture easily, so what they did for me meant more than a simple courtesy.

    I am proud of my stubborn determination though. It gets me through the tough stuff.

    1. I’ve tried to get followers to participate in things before, and it never quite seems to work. But I am delighted to hear that people stepped up for you!

      1. lyn sutton says:

        Followers who don’t participate are not followers…they’re hangers on and need to be kicked to the curb. Or maybe politely asked to contribute? 🙂 If I keep posting my acts of kindness stories, in my comments, maybe it’ll catch on…

      2. You never know. Maybe you should start a blog! I bet you’d be good at it.

  3. lyn sutton says:

    Me with a blog?!! May as well put a loaded weapon in my hands. My sassy chaotic side would be too tempted to lead any followers astray. I blame Russell’s influence…

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