Courtesy of this post by fellow blogger Andrew Reeves, I recently became aware of Lend With Care - an initiative developed by the charity Care International.
The concept is simple - to link micro-lenders directly with the borrower. Microlending is where entrepreneurs in the developing world borrow small amounts of money at beneficial terms. Most of the time this is finance they wouldn't have access to through what we would consider normal channels. They then use this to develop their ideas and businesses in order to make money to improve the lives of them and their families.
Lend With Care provides a channel whereby interest-free loans are provided, subject to a code of conduct, to small businesses mainly across South East Asia. Loans are split between a number of lenders and every penny lent goes direct to the borrower. Repayments are then deposited in the lenders account and can, of course, be re-lent to help someone else.
I've chosen to help a small-business woman, Josefina Cuer (pictured below), who runs a general store in Cebu in the Philippines - the main reason for doing so was because I could afford to complete the required loan and the relatively short repayment period (6 months). In due course I hope to be able to help others - and to update you further on the micro-lending experience.