Friday, November 4, 2011

Kiva Widows

tumblr_l4fpd7vFIB1qzu1fjo1_500_thumb A few years ago, I learned about Kiva Micro-loans. Have you heard of them? If not, check it out, but here’s my story and why I support them.
Being widowed at age 36, I thought being educated, resourceful and creative would ensure that I’d always find a way to be financially sound. But to be honest, when you are grieving deeply and hurting emotionally, money is the last thing you are focused on. Eventually though, you must face that monster. I’m going out on a limb and telling you a little secret: I didn’t know how to reconcile my check book when my husband died. I know, I know….bad huh! I mean, I always had money in there and didn’t overspend, I just didn’t care to learn. It was boring.
But as time went on, I became a Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, Warren Buffett and Chicks Laying Nest Eggs fan. I actually became comfortable with understanding how money could make money for me and secure a great future for my daughters. I also learned that money is meant for 3 things: to save, to donate and to spend.

Spending was easy. Saving was hard. Donating made me curious. What do I donate to? Sure, there’s New Hope for Kids, the grief center that I took my daughter to and then there was my tithe. But I began to wonder what else was out there that needed my money. I just felt something was calling my name but I didn’t know what. I didn’t have a lot to donate so I wanted to be very wise with where to sent it. Then I found Kiva Loans. I saw Jessica Jackley at the Global Leadership Summit via simulcast from Willow Creek Church in Illinois. Jessica had founded Kiva; small tiny micro loans to help third world citizens who just needed a hand UP, not hand OUT.

Looking over the website, it became very clear that I wanted to help specifically other widows in places like Kenya, Tajikistan, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Ukraine.  As I looked at their photos and dreams of wanting a grocery store or  construction supplies, I knew I’d never really know these women or see the joy on their faces. I’d never hug them and say ‘You’re gonna be fine’. All I could really do is give them a micro  loan and watch as they paid me back literally penny by penny. Kiva does an  extraordinary job of communicating the process. I receive consistent emails and knew when a nickel was being repaid. Sometimes it took weeks, sometimes months…it’s beautiful.

I imagine her counting in her hand the cents she made that day knowing that someone out in the wild blue yonder loaned her this opportunity to shine, gave her the dignity of this moment, to make a living for her family or to eat that day. Call me sentimental, but this is what ‘living well’ feels like for me. Single moms and widows are vulnerable in the world, they feel alone, but they shouldn’t have to feel desperate or useless. If I am remembered for one thing in this world, I want to be remembered for helping women who have little to no opportunity and still find the strength to keep going another day. I KNOW how that feels. I happily choose to help these women because I feel a kindred spirit that spans across oceans and around the globe and I know it’s felt long after I’m paid back.
This is why I want to make money, so I can deeply appreciate what I have, see it as the blessing it is and spin dreams for someone who will never know that another widow in the USA is rallying for her and shouting from the mountaintops that……
“You’re gonna be just fine”  Will you consider sponsoring a widow…in our country or beyond? – Carolyn
Carolyn highly recommends these awesome women who are experts with Women in Transition: (Central FL)