Call it a “first world problem”, but the most tedious part of staying on a boat is the daily mission to lug the previous days’ rubbish to shore. Never-mind the clanking of empty champagne bottles (“jam jars” I awkwardly tell anyone within earshot of the tinkling), but attempting to kayak while balancing a bag of rubbish on your lap is not going to win any Avon Descents.
Imagine my pleasant surprise when an entrepreneurial kid from a neighbouring boat putted up in their tender- offering to collect our trash for a small donation. We figured he was probably pocketing around $2-$5 a bag (evidently more once the rubbish runs started getting less frequent) which certainly made my childhood lemonade stand look like chump change at 25c per cup!
The Internet has become a pretty nifty resource for those needing to raise capital through the use of micro-lending – no lemonade stall necessary. Again ranking on Oprah’s best gift ideas is Kiva – a microcredit non-profit organisation that allows people throughout the world to lend money to those in developing countries. I still get a kick out of being “repaid” by my first borrower in Azerbaijan, who needed a loan of $1,925 to buy seeds and fertilizers. Of my default $25 donation, around $2 per month trickles back into my Kiva account; accompanied by an imaginary high-five to the success of my borrower- steadily making enough cash to repay his debts.
Founded in 2005, Kiva has funded a total of 940,000 loans (or $380 million) to those who would typically lack collateral, steady employment, or a credit history. Kiva joins a long list of charitable organizations that allow you conveniently donate to your favourite cause online.
Of course, there are plenty of phoneys waiting in the shadows attempting to divert your good intentions to line their own pockets. Check out the following tips to make sure your generosity makes it to those in real need.