I discovered Kiva a few months ago and made my first $25 loan to Thon Ratanak in June. He lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and requested an 18-month, $1,200 loan. Here’s what I’m told about him:
Thon Ratanak is 26 years old, married and has one child. He works as a mechanic in a small garage not far from his house. About 80 percent of the people of Cambodia drive or travel in second-hand vehicles, most of which have to be repaired before they can be used. That is why car mechanics are thought to have good jobs. Thon’s wife stays at home to look after their child and cook food for the whole family. She also has a job renting out a pool table to villagers, earning a small commission from each rental. Thon has applied for a loan from Kiva to buy painting tools and a small motor to help him do his work.
As you can see from the screencapture image on the right above, Thon has repaid %17 of the loan thus far.
Kiva is so well-run that it’s made me wonder whether something similar could work on a local level, even though, according to one expert:
… microloans have less appeal in the US because people think it too difficult to escape poverty through private enterprise.
This post is part of Blog Action Day 08 – Poverty.