Frugal Friday- Microfinance

microloans It is really weird cause it seems like my World Vision trip was so long ago. I really hate how easily I have slipped back into my middle class American existence. I still think of my World Vision kids every day. One’s picture is on my fridge. Another is my screen saver and my Twitter ID. They also slip into my mind every time I find myself moaning about the fact that it is hot out or that my dryer is on the fritz. Thankfully I often catch myself mid-moan and remember how most of the world is living.

I mentioned when I was down in the Dominican Republic how amazing the work that World Vision is doing in teaching job skills to people, especially women. Many housewives who were relying on their husband’s unreliable source of income suddenly have the ability to start businesses that will provide steady income to their families. This is especially important as we kept hearing story after story of husbands who had abandoned their families for various reasons. World Vision’s whole philosophy rests on the age old wisdom that instead of providing man with a fish they should teach them how to fish.

I cannot tell you how much I love, love, love that philosophy. Not to get off on a political rant, but giving handout after handout so often keeps people in the cycle of poverty. And World Vision believes so strongly that this is NOT the way to solve global poverty. Here is a statement from their microfinance website:

Small loans by themselves are not enough to end global poverty. But when these small loans are interwoven with other poverty-fighting efforts like clean water, health, and education, the result is a world-class approach to community development.”

I saw this philosophy in action. I tasted it in the cookies one group made for us as they learned about baking and cake decorating. I saw it in the faces of women beaming with pride as they showed us their purses and bedspreads they had sewn. I heard it in the pride in their voices when they talked about their beauty salons that had started out in their front room and expanded to a store front all done with microloans. It is amazing what is being done with small gifts invested in someone’s dream of a better future for their family.

So maybe you read about my trip and thought that it was great and all, but you just weren’t up for making a monthly commitment. You can still make a huge difference in the life of a family half way around the world. Head over to their microfinance page and you can browse through entrepreneurs and help to underwrite his or her loan. You can search by business type, gender, loan amount and countries. This is a new site so only a few countries are represented. Unfortunately the Dominican Republic isn’t on there, but I am hoping as the site grows it will be added. Once you fund a loan you will receive updates on how your shared business is growing. And once it is repaid (the current repayment rate is 98.7%), your donation recycles over and over again to help more entrepreneurs in the same country.

The minimum donation is $25. I think that is a pretty frugal way to invest in an entire community’s future. Need more inspiration? Check out these success stories. Or if you feel so led, change the life of a child through sponsorship. I know for a fact your life will be changed as well.

This post was submitted at Life is Mom for Frugal Friday.


  1. I’m glad you shared this with us. We, too, believe that handouts are NOT the way to end poverty. I could go on a super long political rant here too…but I won’t. Thanks for telling us about this organization.
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Creating a Meal Plan: Seasonal Meals =-.

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