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Archive for May, 2007

Loans 18 - 21 & Auction Update

May 31st, 2007 at 09:16 pm

I placed up 8 auctions last week that ended today which brought in a profit of $209.74 for this project. Add that to the $12 in the bank and there is $221.74 to use for new loans.

I went through and made $25 loans to the following four people:

Selau Finnety

The land is a gift from God, but making it productive it is up to the people to use it - this is what Selau believes. She is married with one son and is a strong and active young lady. She started with a small loan from SPBD and used it to buy weed killer and fertilizer for her farm where she grows taro, banana, taamu, yams, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Three days of the week she delivers her farm produce to the market. Her husband helps her in her farm and they are very happy to work because it gives them more income. They are looking forward to obtaining another loan to buy a second-hand pick up truck for delivering their produce to the market.

Susitina Sanele

At twenty nine years old, Susitina is just starting her family. She has a one year old daughter and a husband who works part-time as a taxi driver. Besides having good baking skills, she recently started an elei printing business (a traditional Samoan way of printing fabrics) using a small loan from the SPBD microfinance program. Her business is steadily growing and she is planning to expand it by purchasing more textiles and additional stencils to increase the variety of her designs. She is looking forward to a time when she becomes really successful with her elei printing business so she can also invest in her other passion – baking.

Ear Sreyneit

Mrs. Ear Sreyneit, 24 years old, lives with her husband and two children in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She makes her living by selling a variety of fruits such as mangoes, yams, grapes, and oranges at the local market. She typically makes around $50/day in revenue. Her husband, meanwhile, helps by driving a car to buy and transport fruit from a plantation, which is far from his village, then selling it to retailers at the market. This couple hopes to use the loan to purchase a car to transport their fruit from a plantation and the rest will be used for the business. Sreyneit is thinking about being a wholesaler one day.

King Tonou

Mr. Tonou is 40 years old, married, and the father of three children. He has been in rice agriculture for 10 years. His wife sells kitchenware. Mr. Tonou received his middle school diploma and was also trained in rice agriculture. He is currently the technical specialist in rice agriculture that assists the other farmers in his solidarity group with their fields. He began working in agriculture by helping his parents, first by raising pigs, and then with rice. He was able to plant his first plot on rented land with a loan from his father, but this year he did not have the necessary funds to plant, and therefore had to leave his plot empty until the next harvest.
The loan and his income will allow Mr. Tonou to better care for his children’s education, both are currently in school. He will also eventually be able to improve his family’s home and health. While he is able to properly feed his family, Mr. Tonou cannot afford the hospital fees or medicine when they become ill. He hopes to one day be able to build a house on a plot of land that he currently owns because since they are now living in his mother’s house.

I have enough in funds to make another 4 donations ($121.74) which I will do over the next few days. I also plan to put up another 10 or so auctions this week to keep the ball rolling...

First Project Participant

May 22nd, 2007 at 01:26 am

Nate and I have started a Kiva Project to encourage others to also give to this cause. If you make four $25 microloans, we will pay you $5 (approximately what you would have earned in interest had you instead placed it in an online bank account). You can read more about the project here

We'd like to thank the Living Planet blog from making four donation and writing about it in a post titled Kiva's One Time Loans With Interest. We certainly hope this will be the first of many in the months to come.

Loans 14 -17

May 20th, 2007 at 04:03 am

Just finished lending out all the money raised thus far...leaving $12 in the bank still to be lent out. here are the new additions:

Julio is a native of Salitre, Ecuador, and he has been working in rice farming his entire life. On his farm, he has rice and also some cows and bulls. With the loan, he will buy fertilizer for rice farming as he hopes to increase his productivity. The fertilizer helps increase the yield per plot and it also provides rice of better quality. He dreams of fixing his home, which is made out of wood and is vulnerable to rains. On his farm he also has a couple of horses.

He is the latest addition to one of the new Communal Banks in the Mifex Rural Finance Program. All of the members of the 10 de enero Communal Bank are part of an Association of Rice Farmers in Salitre named 10 de enero. They will use the microloans to prepare the lands and cultivate rice on their farms. Because they form part of a communal bank, they are all each others' guarantors for the loan. This means that if for some reason one person in the group cannot fully repay the loan, the other borrowers and the 10 de enero Association are responsible for the amount in default. The members of the bank also participate in a program designed to teach and encourage savings among the group. Promoting savings is often forgotten in many microfinance programs, but is imperative for the communities Mifex works with to have capital reserved for future investments or unexpected difficulties.

Jacinta Njeri Magondu is 50 years old and is a widow. She has five children, four of whom are of school-going age; some are in college. She is a trained nurse. She also owns some rental houses which support her in meeting her diverse needs.
Despite the fact that Jacinta has really tried to meet all her expenses, she still has problems paying school fees for her children. She now wants to venture into a new business that she thinks will add to her monthly returns and thus improve her financial status.

Jacinta is requesting a loan of US$ 700 to add to her capital and start a cereal-selling business. She has a well-projected market and she is expecting to increase her income if she manages to start the cereal shop. She intends to use US$ 200 to buy 10 bags of maize, US$ 100 to buy 10 bags of millet, US$ 200 to buy 5 bags of wheat, US$ 100 to buy 5 bags of beans, and US$ 100 to transport the cereals to her shop. Jacinta is a hardworking woman who believes that the sky is her only limit.

Juan was born in Salitre over 70 years ago. He has a small farm that has helped him feed and educate his children for a lifetime. On his farm he grows rice, maize and sweet potatoes. He lives with his wife in their home. He hopes to invest the loan in agriculture so he can continue to feed himself and not depend on others.

He is the latest addition to one of the new Communal Banks in the Mifex Rural Finance Program. All of the members of the Buena Suerte de Salitre Communal Bank are part of an Association of Rice Farmers. They will use the microloans to prepare the lands and cultivate rice on their farms. Because they form part of a communal bank, they are all each other's guarantors for the loan. This means that if for some reason one person in the group cannot fully repay the loan, the other borrowers and the Buena Suerte Association are responsible for the amount in default. The members of the bank also participate in a program designed to teach and encourage savings among the group. Promoting savings is often forgotten in many microfinance programs, but is imperative for the communities Mifex works with to have capital reserved for future investments or unexpected difficulties.

Auk Pheakdey is 32 years old and a mother of three children, who are students. She lives with her husband in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She operates her business by selling grocery products including Chinese noodles, instant noodle soup and porridge, at the local market. She usually makes about $5/day. Her husband works at a private company as a driver and contributes his salary to help support the family. Pheakdey needs the loan to purchase some grocery items and utensils for her business. Eventually, Pheakdey hopes to own a stand so that she no longer has to spend money renting one. She also wishes to be able to provide an education for her children.

Loans 5 - 13

May 20th, 2007 at 03:39 am

Here is the update on the loans that we have made:

At 28, Mr. Prospère KPETEKA is an energetic and devoted young man. He is a married father of three who also takes care of his two younger brothers. When he could no longer afford to go to school, he began work as a cassava grater, working either at home or in cassava fields. Now he has totally paid off his equipment, but it is constantly breaking down, at the same time that demand is rising.

He is thus requesting a loan of $900 to buy a new, better quality grater in order to better satisfy his customers. This will allow him to increase his earnings and to meet his family's needs.

Sieraseta has been a member of the SPBD Program for two years. She is married and has two children.

Although her husband is a policeman and earns a steady income, Sieraseta still works hard to bring in the extra income that can raise her family’s standard of living and provide her children a good education.

She knows how to weave in the traditional Samoan fashion, and she leverages this talent to weave mats and bags and other items. She spends the bulk of her days at the flea market selling her products. Locals and tourists alike buy her wares.

Loaning funds to Sieraseta would help her purchase raw materials for weaving.

Tina Sio is 51 years old. She believes that, regardless of age, she still has the potential to build more decorated cement posts. She is a very independent lady. Although two of her children work, she does not want to rely on them. She prefers to have a business of her own. Tina earns good money from her small business, and she is looking forward to working closely with SPBD. She has applied for another loan to improve and extend her business based on a great demand from her usual customers. She will use the loan to purchase materials

Visitasia uses seashells from the shore for her jewelry business. With the help of SPBD, she was able to buy tools to carve and design different sizes of earrings. Other ladies in the program taught her how to make this jewelry. This was her first loan and her first time to do this kind of business. She is a good learner and she was able to earn more money from this craft. Everyday is a learning experience for her as she gathers more ideas from the other ladies of the program in how to be successful in her business. She chose this type of business is because she likes the creativity and it is profitable. She is requesting a second loan so she can increase her stock and income.

Matele is a 41 year old married mother who operates a handicrafts business, a talent that she has had since a very young age. She has chosen to make good use of her ability to set up a business to further improve her family’s standard of living.

Matele chooses good quality but cheap traders of wood to create her masterpieces, which she sells to the local markets and individuals. Her number one customers are tourists and Samoans traveling overseas who purchase her wares as souvenirs.

Mr. Bernadino has a carpentry workshop where he makes all sorts of wooden furniture. He has been using the same equipment for the past 3 years and says "I ask you to please help me buy new machinery to make furniture, because the old one is really hard to work with, it is almost becoming almost obsolete. I believe I can buy new equipment with $1,200."

Mr. Rodríguez has been serving his community for 10 years selling goods at his grocery store. Along with his wife, Mr. Rodríguez takes care of the store and says, "I opened this grocery store with the help of my wife after I retired. We need to keep it well supplied because it is our only source of income. This is way we are asking for a $1,000 loan."

Elena is married and has 5 children (eldest is 14 years, youngest is 4 months). They have a family business. Her husband has been working in their restaurant since he was 20 years old. Now he is 45. Besides this business, they produce cheese and ice cream.
She used her first loan to purchase the premises for their store at the local market. Now she leases it. She plans to use her next loan to extend their restaurant and establish a summer cafe.

Abduvali has run a carpenter shop for over 5 years. His elder son helps him, and he has two assistants. In the shop, they make window frames and doors. He used his first loan to purchase construction materials. He sells them in his own shop. Abduvali has 4 children and 7 grandchildren. His elder son graduated the institute (faculty of physics) and another son still studies at the institute. Abduvali has been working to help all his children to graduate and support their families.

New Blog & Money Raised

May 20th, 2007 at 03:27 am

Lots to update - first I have moved this blog to its own blogging page from my personal finance blog since I will also have entries here listed on the microloan website that we are building.

Last week was extremely busy on the sites, and even though I didn't update, a lot happened. All the auctions ended and all the people have paid which brought in an extra $337 plus the $100 from buy it now auctions making the total for distribution $437. That gives us enough to give out 17 loans with a bit left over. We have already made 13 loans and I will make another 4 write after I finish writing this entry.

Unfortunately with everything going on I wasn't able to list any auctions last week so there won't be any new income for a least another week. I am hoping to list another 10 auctions or so although I don't think this next ones will bring in quite as much money. Still, every dollar helps and hopefully we can add another couple hundred to the pot.

About $250 Raised

May 20th, 2007 at 03:16 am

As I mentioned before, I will be slowly placing all the stock that I had from my old eBay business on auction with any profits made going to Kiva. I had four auctions that ended today that all went very well. After did ducting the cost of the items, eBay fees, PayPal fees, etc. the four items look like they will turn about a $250 profit (I won't know the exact figures until everyone pays). That means that I will be able to give out 10 more loans from the profits of these sales with a few more auctions ending tomorrow.

I will be spending the next couple of days listing more auctions - hope to get another 10 or so up if possible. Just need to make sure to put aside the time for getting them up.

Most payments for the auctions that just ended should be coming in by PayPal, so I should be able to help fund some more loans in the next couple of days.

First Problem - New Loan Given

May 20th, 2007 at 03:15 am

It seems that the loan amount that was requested in for Ramona was incorrect. Kiva therefore refunded the $25 I had pledged and they are going to redo the loan again for Ramona in the correct amount. I've been searching to see if the new loan is live so that I can offer some money to her microloan again, but I haven't seen anything. I therefore did another $25 loan to a new recipient named Ben:

Ben is 38 years old and married with 1 child. He was educated up to G.C.E. Advanced level. From his own meagre resources, he was able to establish an auto parts shop which he still operates. Items on sale include bolts and nuts, refurbished radiators and other assorted used car parts.

He has benefited from KRABAN'S 'TEACH' learning sessions. He wants to use the KIVA loan to stock up other items like used rims, tyres and lubricants for sale.

I will continue to look to see if Ramona's new loan request is in the system and I will donate to her again if I find the request. This should not be a problem since I have some auctions ending tomorrow which should bring some more money and to donate more microloans.

All Funded, First Loan Distributed

May 20th, 2007 at 03:13 am

Just a quick update that all 4 loans have been fully funded and the first of the loans has already been distributed to Maria:

Thank you for your loan. It has been disbursed to Maria Isabel Chi Puc by Admic Nacional in Mexico. We are excited to watch this business grow. Over the next 6 - 12 months, Admic Nacional will be collecting repayments from this entrepreneur and posting progress updates on the Kiva website

Amazingly quick turn around and it's good to see that some of the money loaned has already made it to one of the recipients.

Idea For Microloan Site

May 20th, 2007 at 03:11 am

Nate and I have come up with the following idea in our quest to help Kiva.org as part of the $20 challenge. We sat down and thought about what type of organization could we start that could help raise money without actually having to ask people for money donations. That's when we came up with the idea of donating cards.

Originally the idea of the site was that there are a lot of people who receive gift cards that they never use. For those people who had gift cards that they were not going to use, we were going to set up a site where they could donate those gift cards. We would then sell the gift cards with the profits going toward microloans.

As we thought about this more, we decided we shouldn't just limited it to gift cards, but every type of card there is out there. For example, I know that there is a lot of value in old baseball cards since that is how I partially paid for my college education. I also know from living in Japan that used telephone cards have a lot of value to collectors for the designs on them. The more we thought about it, the more we realize that we could accept any type of card that people might have and no longer need and set up a site where we could resell those.

That is the current plan for this endeavor. The site is not set up yet (although we have purchased the domain name), but we should have the basics up this month. We realize that due to the amount of time that we must spend on the current sites that we will not be able to commit a lot of time to building this project at the beginning, but we hope that slowly but surely we can turn it into a site that can raise money for giving out microloans.

I feel that it will be an interesting project and one that will be worth while. It should be interesting to see how it grows from the very beginning and what it will eventually become.

Fourth Loan

May 20th, 2007 at 03:09 am

The fourth loan, and the final one for this first $100 that I raised, went to Yao who has the following story:

Yao Akissi is a 41-year-old woman with 4 children. She is a war displaced woman who was living in the northern region of Côte d’Ivoire until September, 2002 when the civil war started. She came to Abidjan with her family in March, 2003. She contacted AE&I through her sister in January, 2004 to get a loan in order to a start cassava paste selling activity. She took a $150 loan that helped her to launch her activities. She sells cooked cassava paste with sauce, a locally appreciated food. She wants to increase her volume of product as the number of her customers has increased.

This loan was again for $25 and completed the $100 in loans that I could give out for the items that I sold.

After giving out these four loans, I see that I probably need to come up with a plan on how to distribute future money that I raise. At this point I don't think that it matters that I simply pick ones that look interesting, but hopefully in the future I'll need to come up with a method to search through the listings quickly and efficiently. This is something that I will work on to see if I can come up with a plan that makes sense.

I still have eight other items up for auction that will hopefully sell next week and I can add more money to the loans. I'm not sure how feasible it will be, but I would like to try to the list fortified items a day to help clear out the stock that I have here in addition to helping in this project. The listings themselves are not that difficult, but having to wrap and send out the items can be quite time consuming. It's this stage of the process that will determine how many items I can put up for auction each day.

It is definitely a good start and I have set the goal of $3000 by the end of the year. I think that that should be possible and a good goal to shoot for.

Third Loan

May 20th, 2007 at 03:08 am

The third loan went to Ramona with the following story:

Ramona has had a small store in her home for about two years. She and her husband also travel around the local area offering their products to the public from a tricycle cart. They mainly sell eggs, cheese and ham, often serving as distributors to other small stores in the area.

Ramona is hoping that she can take out a loan to improve her profits. She will purchase more of her common products at better prices and much larger quantities. She hopes to eventually start delivering these products to all the small stores in the area.

Ramona is 28 years old and she has two daughters who are in school. Her husband is very supportive of her business and helps her invest with leftover income from his job. They hope they can make some improvements to their humble home in the near future.

This was another loan for $25.

I'm finding it interesting looking at the other people that are donating to the same loans that I am. What you see very quickly is that there are a wide variety of people that are giving these loans out for many different reasons. I think that this has been a very good start to this process and hopefully it will keep me motivated to continue to work hard on this project despite all the other time commitments a have.

Second Loan

May 20th, 2007 at 03:06 am

The second loan went to Maria Isabel who has the following story:

Mrs. Maria Isabel is from Mérida, Yucatan, has five children: four men of 28, 25, 21 and 18 years of age and one 24 year-old girl. The children are married and they help her with a small amount of money for expenses, but not enough to cover all her needs, so she decided to start her own business of selling shoes. Fortunately the money and hard work she invested in the business paid-off. In order to be able to fulfill her clients’ orders, Maria needs a loan of $700 dollars. She is committed to paying it back in 6 to 12 months. With your aid Maria can improve her life. She sincerely thanks you for your support and kindness.

Again, this loan was for $25 and in this loan was picked purely on a random basis as I came across it and felt that it was someone who deserved to receive the loan. That being said, almost everyone that I read seems to deserve the loans so I will simply keep plugging away at raising more money for this project so that I can help out more individuals.

Quick Sale - First Loan

May 19th, 2007 at 02:09 am

I placed 10 items up for sale on eBay to begin this project in the $20 challenge. I figured that the sale of these items should raise a few hundred dollars and get the ball rolling on this project fairly quickly. It didn't take long to record the first two sales (buy it now) which netted $100 in profit which I have started to use to pass out loans to people on Kiva.

The first loan went to Gurbat Jafarov who had the following story:

Gurbat is an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) from the Armenian-occupied territory of Azerbaijan Gubadli. He started his business five years ago selling clothing, bags and other apparel items. The business has been growing and he is requesting a loan to increase his stock.

The minimum amount that you can loan is $25 and that is what I have decided to do for each of my loans as I begin.

At this point in time I am finding that the most difficult part of giving up to loan money is that there are so many people that deserve it that it is hard to pick. Basically I am just randomly looking through the listings and donating to the first ones that I come across.

I'm sure that over time I will refine the system a bit, but for now that is the way that I am choosing.

Kiva.org & $20 Challenge

May 19th, 2007 at 12:57 am

It has been quite a while since I have done anything for the $20 challenge. That is about to change. I will try to spend a significant amount of time on a new project that I am putting up with the $20 challenge.

Now that it is certain that both Nate and I will be working on our sites full time and will not need to get other jobs in the future, we have decided that we also want to give back since we consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to do the things that we love to do. We therefore have decided to set up a new site that will donate money to Kiva.org

Kiva.org is an organization that gives microloans to people who would not normally be able to get a loan for their small business. The way that the nonprofit works is that normal people, like you and me, lend money to the bank for these people to take out a loan and then the bank gives them the money. The one key difference is that when you lend your money to these people, you don't earn any interest on the loan.

What both Nate and I like about this organization is that not only does the money you lend help the person it is first lent to, but once the money is paid back you are able to lend it to another person. Therefore the same money can be used to help a number of people over the years. Of course, there is a risk that the person will default on the loan and you will lose your money, but up until this point the payback rate of loans has been 100% and most loans of this type are paid back in the 95% to 97% range.

As many of you know who have been on this site for a long time, before I started to work on the site full time, I made my living selling stuff on eBay. What I have decided to do is to take the stock that I still have left over from that business and once again sell it on eBay in my spare time. Any profits that I make on the sale of those items I will lend to people on Kiva.org.

My hope is that I can lend several thousand dollars by the end of the year and that I can re-lend all the money that is paid back. I will be documenting the different loans that I give on these pages as part of the $20 challenge. I'm really excited about this challenge and I think that it is going to be a fun way to give back for all the things that I have received from the site.