This blog was originally posted on Tim Bishop's definitelymaybe blog and has been re-posted here with his permission.
|Vietnamese hill tribe handicrafts © CARE / Tim Bishop|
I live in
Saigon, Vietnam, and it’s hotting up once more as we approach the muggiest time
of the year.
for me, this week I have been in Hanoi and luckier still, yesterday spent the
day visiting local hill tribe communities about 180 kms north west of the
capital. Not only
did the mercury drop down lower for the day, as we snaked our bus round the
mountains through wispy clouds and potholed roads, but we were privileged to
meet incredibly talented individuals, tucked away as they are from the
life of urban Hanoians, and cut off from the collective consciousness of
the world outside Vietnam.
The objective of the visit was as part of an expansion of an initiative in the UK that CARE International have built over the past four years, called Lendwithcare.org.
|Local Hill Tribe Community © CARE / Tim Bishop|
brainchild of CARE’s former marketing director, Lendwithcare set
out to establish an online micro-lending community within the UK, whose members
(or “lenders”) are able to loan money to individuals (“borrowers”) in the
developing world, to help establish and grow micro-enterprises and small
borrowers repay the lenders on a monthly basis, and once the loan is fully
repaid the lender can re-loan the same amount back into the system, and
onto a new borrower.
lending cycle can continue for years, and support multiple borrowers.
Lendwithcare now has 17,000 lenders supporting
nearly 8,000 borrowers in eight countries (Zambia, Malawi, Pakistan, Togo,
Benin, Cambodia, Philippines and Ecuador) and the intention is to expand
further. 65% of those lending have so far gone on to make additional
Handicraft Group - painting in beeswax © CARE / Tim Bishop
The initiative offers transparency - as a lender, you can track the progress online of the borrower in which you invest your loan – and also maintains an appeal to a range of audiences (in my family not only did I sign up to make a loan, but my father did also, as did two other family members of ours, both now in their 90′s).
The appeal is simple: Lendwithcare makes your money work very effectively and it also helps include up until now some of the billions of people in the world who are simply looking for the same things in life as everyone else.
As anyone who has ever worked will testify, there are times for all of us when the requirement of a loan to help us move forward are too pressing to ignore. Growing up in the UK, I borrowed money from the bank to purchase numerous things, and the process to do this was typically quite straightforward (often too simple, but that point would require a separate post on the ways and wherefores of the banking system in the UK).