Tuesday, February 17, 2009


You Ask: What is a micro-loan?

we found this answer on wikipedia

Microcredit is the extension of very small loans (microloans) to the unemployed, to poor entrepreneurs and to others living in poverty. These individuals lack collateral, steady employment and a verifiable credit history and therefore cannot meet even the most minimal qualifications to gain access to traditional credit. Microcredit is a part of microfinance, which is the provision of a wider range of financial services to the very poor.

Microcredit is a financial innovation that is generally considered to have originated with the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.[1] In that country, it has successfully enabled extremely impoverished people to engage in self-employment projects that allow them to generate an income and, in many cases, begin to build wealth and exit poverty.

We are dedicating this entire post to micro-loans. We will show you how to get involved, even if you don't have any money!  We think that micro-loans are a great way to fight poverty throughout the world. 

This is a video from Small Things Challenge 

This video gives you the basic idea behind Micro loans.  Check out the Small Things Challenge website.
This website gives you a chance to get involved even if you don't have money! Just click and Intel donates a quarter! Those quarters add up!

Below is a video from Kiva. We used Kiva's website to loan our $275.00 of "raking money" to a woman entrepreneur in Tajikistan. She is the owner of a clothing stand. When she finishes repaying the loan (she has almost finished paying) we can get the money back and keep it or we can re-loan it to another person in need. Our plan is to keep raising money for our Kiva account and keep making loans with it. 

Curious? Click here to see and learn about actual people who need loans. 
The smallest loan that you can make through Kiva is $25.00
To get started, go to their website and follow the instructions.

Here is some info we copied from their website: Kiva.org

What Is Kiva?

We Let You Loan to the Working Poor

Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.

Let us know what you think-Let us know if you get involved. Have questions? To contact us just click on the comments link below!

Monday, February 16, 2009


Raking it in for Kiva!

here we are practicing the ancient art of "rake fighting"

Our Inspiration:

Current Photo the inspirational Mr. Loewenstern (not in class)

In Mr. Loewenstern's Geography class we look at different regions of the world, identify their inherent difficulties and evaluate them from a problem solver's point of view. As we study different regions we take on the role of it's leaders and try to solve the problems of that region. So in a typical class period we might be negotiating with  mock leaders of a bordering country or a mock European Union or UN!  After we had finished a unit on poverty Mr. Lowenstern introduced us to some aid organizations that had been very effective in some of the most impoverished regions of the world.  We learned about operation BUZZKILL (that's another post!) but most importantly the Kiva website.-circe

What is KIVA?

Kiva is the world's first person to person micro-lending website that empowers individuals (like us!) to make small loans directly to entreprenuers working in impoverished regions throughout the world.  When you make a micro-loan you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need. We definitely wanted to get involved in this progam but we didn't have any money!

HOW TO raise money...

It was Autumn, there was an immense pile up of leaves around the neighborhood... we saw opportunity! People might pay us to remove their immense piles of leaves. We started by making up a flyer -we sent it out via email to our neighbors. To our surprise several people took us up on our offer to rake.-sadie

Here is what our flyer looked like. Feel free to copy it. We charged about 2.00 per bag, most yards had between 25 and 30 bags worth of leaves



Does your yard need raking? A group of teenagers from your neighborhood (Circe, Sadie and friends) have formed a service organization that enables them as a group to volunteer and raise funds for environmental and humanitarian causes that they care deeply about. They call themselves The Angsty Teenage Eco Warriors.  These “Angsty Teens” would like to rake your yard and donate 100% of the proceeds to Kiva.org. 

What is Kiva.org? 

Kiva is non-profit micro loan organization that is doing great things: Kiva.org allows individuals to make $25 loans to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world. By doing so, individuals like you provide affordable working capital for the poor (money to buy a sewing machine, livestock, etc.), empowering them to earn their way out of poverty. 

Here’s How it Works 

  • Angsty Teens will rake your yard, put the leaves in paper yard waste bags and place them at the curb for City of Austin pick up. (You supply the bags and the City will compost the yard waste) 
  • Angsty Teens will invest the leaf raking money at Kiva.org- you can track the investment online at the Kiva website. As the loans are paid back Angsty Teens will continually reinvest the money to Kiva.org 
  • Angsty Teens are parent supervised. To make a raking appointment or to get an estimate on leaf removal call us 

Click the links below to learn more about Kiva:


micro loans are a Nobel Peace Prize winning idea! Click below to learn more: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/10/061013-nobel-peace.html  



mentally preparing for the task

Ahh, the fresh scent of autumn. Cool mornings, blustery days and most importantly, leaves!

Whether the smell of leaves bring sweet maple memories, or just give you the sniffles, raking is something that any able bodied person can do, and some good can come of it if you are willing to roll up you sleeves! 

a steep learning curve: What goes in the bag?

Grabbing our "garden" variety household rakes and claws, a bunch of us got together and tackled those immense piles of leaves. With nimble hands and feet we deftly maneuvered the tall mounds of leaves into huge paper sacks (not without some trouble though, somehow some of us ended up inside the bags, too). It was quite a fiasco. The piles of leaves everywhere seemed endless, but that didn’t stop us. After a couple of weekends spent in many yards, we had earned $275.00. We thought that amount was a good start for a micro-loan. Just by being willing to rake our friendly neighbor’s lawns, we ended up “raking” in the dough for a micro-loan that will change someone's life. -sadie