This blog was written by Lendwithcare lender, Jan Tchamani, and originally posted on DuCredit's website. It has been re-posted here with permission.
|The Chitimba Women's Group, supported by Jan through Lendwithcare|
Crowdfunding activity has been on the rise for a few years. With the rise of Kickstarter and other platforms, no sector benefits more fruitfully from crowd funding initiatives than the 3rd sector.
Micro-finance initiatives allow anyone to invest small amounts of money which make a huge difference to entrepreneurs and workers in the third world. Allowing them to provide a sustainable future for their families.
We asked one UK based donor, Jan Tchamani, one of AgeUK’s current internet champions, why she chose to give through crowdfunding and tell us a little about her experience of charitable giving through LendWithCare.
"It’s really important to me to do charitable giving, even though my means are quite limited. And, let’s face it, everyone has limits. Also, because I’ve been learning about sustainable development over the past few years, it’s also important to me to give in a way that’s responsible and environmentally-friendly.
Ever since I was at school, I’ve been fundraising. I think my first foray was running a sponsored music day when I was a pupil at Stourbridge High School in the 1970s, raising funds for the Sunshine Children’s Home. I played the piano, as a soloist and accompanist, from 9am to 5pm, friends sang and played instruments, and I still remember what fun we had, and what a buzz it gave us when we handed over the money we had collected to the school secretary to send off.
When I was in my 30s, I was able to go overseas and do two years of development work in the Lobi tribal area of Burkina Faso, W Africa. I was teaching in a school for community leaders: mostly French language, since that was the language of administration, and the students had to be able to write letters and deal with officials. Other development workers were teaching well-digging or composting, treating ailments, organising conferences to bring local communities together, or getting the local languages written down in order to preserve them. Everyone was doing something useful. The Lobi are very dependent on subsistence farming, and therefore on the climate, so I saw at firsthand how important it is for charities who get involved in developing countries to be aware of the right way and the wrong way to intervene. I’m satisfied that Lendwithcare know what that right way is: small amounts lent, rather than given, and to people who have a solid business development plan.
I’m no longer able to travel abroad and help, but doing my bit is still very important to me. Although my means are modest, I’m still so much better off than some of the entrepreneurs the organisation is helping. I tend to go for individuals, and I tend to favour farmers who are trying to cultivate more efficiently, and get to a point where they can employ people and have enough produce to spare to sell it at local markets so, for example, they can afford to improve the house they live in, install a simple irrigation system, or pay for their children’s education.
I’ve been with Lendwithcare – run by CARE International UK – for about a year. I think I saw an ad for them on Facebook, and followed up. Lendwithcare.org offers a way of giving online that provides microfinance for entrepreneurs in developing countries. The entrepreneurs concerned have to have a strategic development plan, and the amount they want to borrow is calculated exactly, to the nearest pound.
Lendwithcare gives you plenty of information about the individual entrepreneur on which to base your choice, including a photograph. You can start with a loan as small as £15, and you can see how near their borrowing target the person has got. You get a notification email when they’re 100% funded. There’s also a repayment schedule. Nobody I’ve lent to has ever failed to pay back the scheduled monthly amount, and they often pay back faster, which goes to show how effective the borrowing is in improving their situation.
I get monthly emails from Lendwithcare – they’re great at communicating, but they don’t bombard me, and they never use emotional blackmail. In fact, their emails are always the first I look at when I open my inbox, because they’re always positive: “X, whom you helped, is now fully funded!”, a thank you, or news that all of my £15 has come back and I can reinvest it. Looking back over 2014 and the number of people I managed to help with my £15 gives me such an amazing feeling of being connected to people in other parts of the world – people who are really trying to improve their lives, and the lives of their local communities. The minimum investment amount of £15 is so small, really – the price of a simple pub lunch for two, or a couple of cinema tickets."
Register on Lendwithcare today and join Jan in supporting entrepreneurs in developing countries work their own way out of poverty.