Years ago Mark and I first heard of the concept of a micro loans through my mom. The concept is very simple: you give a woman in a developing country a small bit of money to start a business in her village. That's it. That's the whole concept. This simple act of providing a woman with $100 (for instance) can take a woman living in abject poverty to a business owner who is pulling her family from poverty and changing the whole good of the local economy. Why just women? Experience has shown that women better the world for their families while men go get a couple drinks at the bar. Not true for all men and women, of course, but true enough to make micro loans most effective when they are issued to women. Still don't understand? Watch this video, it made me cry but in that really awesome way:
You can see variables of this kind of work through companies like Global Giving, where we recently donated lunch for school girls in Burkina Faso, in honor of our Mother's for Mother's Day. You can also find it with companies like The Heifer Foundation who donate livestock with the understanding that the offspring will go first to other impoverished people to spread the opportunities around. There is no shortage of companies out there that allow you to take the tiny bit of charity you can offer and make it change the world. And the beauty of it all is that you don't have to be wealthy to contribute. Both those companies give opportunities that even those of us with limited excess funds can get in the game. We only spent $30 on the Burkina Faso donation and for that we fed 100 school girls. Seriously awesome.
But this Girl Effect campaign that has been sweeping the Interweb? It's got me wrapped up in the emotion of it. It truly makes me see the potential of what could be. And as the mother of two girls, I better see the brilliance of what they could be, just by grasping the concept. Jen's recent trip to Umutara has pulled my heart apart in the most beautiful way.
Take a moment to check it out some of these links (if you haven't already) and tell me what it does for you. If you have donated to this kind of thing, give me more links. I want to know what is out there and how working for social change, changed you.