Our International Community Needs Fund was established in the summer of 2008 so that our members and friends of Feast of Victory could minister to the poor and impoverished in the developing world. We do this through an organization called Kiva, a non-profit business that facilitates microfinancing.
Microfinancing consists of making small loans, often less than $500 and generally no more than $1000, to individuals, who are usually women, in order to establish or expand a small, self-sustaining business. One such entrepreneur may need $700 to buy inventory for a small retail business. Another might need $300 to buy two more cows for a small farm. And still another might need $1000 to purchase tools or raw materials for a small manufacturing business. For more information on how microfinancing works, visit the Kiva website but here’s how it works for us.
Those of our members and friends who wish to do so give financial gifts to Feast of Victory that are designated to our International Community Needs Funds. A steering committee goes online to Kiva, where hundreds of small business are listed, and selects those individual entrepreneurs to whom the monies in our Fund are to be loaned.
For example, one business may need to borrow a total of $500. Other people may have already donated a total of $350 leaving their loan “unsubscribed” in the amount of $150. The steering committed will decide how much of that remaining $150 amount we wish to loan to them through Kiva. To continue the example, let’s say that we allocate $50 to the amount needed.
When the loan is fully subscribed, meaning that someone else has advanced the remaining $100, Kiva forwards the $500 they have collected to the borrowing business. Throughout the course of the loan, usually six to twelve months, we receive email journal updates from the business we have sponsored. When the loan is repaid, the $50 portion that we donated is returned to our Fund. The steering committee then re-loans that money to someone else.
We have been able to loan to farmers, merchants, livestock handlers, seamstresses, craftsman and builders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tajikistan, Peru, Bolivia, Nigeria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Viet Nam, Tanzania, Senegal and Nicaragua.