On World Refugee Day, Help a Refugee With Kiva’s Microloan World Refugee Fund
June 20 is World Refugee Day, and at a time when refugees are facing mounting obstacles around the world, there is a way you can help. In June of 2017, Kiva launched a World Refugee Fund to support lending to refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities. In 2017, Kiva loaned over $3,000,000 to refugees and IDPs around the world and is aiming for twice that in 2018, and on World Refugee Day they will match your donation, doubling your impact.
Kiva is a microlending platform, where anyone can go on Kiva and lend out “microloans” to low-income entrepreneurs around the world. Microloans are loans as low as $25, which collectively can help someone expand their business, fix their house, or pay for education.
Microlending typically exhibits a high repayment rate, as loan recipients are often supported throughout their loan, have low-interest rates and may be incentivized to repay their loan with an opportunity to take out a bigger loan. The Kiva website says it has a 96.9% repayment rate. Kiva itself does not earn any interest on the loans it facilitates, and neither do its lenders.
World Refugee Fund
Over 68 million people were forced out of their homes in 2017 as a result of war, violence and other threats. Kiva established the World Refugee Fund to help refugees get back on their feet for the long term and not just meet the immediate emergency needs of refugees. Loans made through Kiva’s World Refugee Fund have helped refugees rebuild their homes, pay for legal papers, pay medical bills, buy equipment to upgrade their businesses and more.
“Refugees and displaced populations often live in their new host communities for several years, but struggle to find work, start businesses or re-establish a source of income for their families. The situation calls for a paradigm shift towards new, sustainable solutions that can both help the displaced and support the communities that host them,” said Kiva President and co-founder Premal Shah.
A Civil War, a Loan, a Friendship and a Successful Business
One recipient of a Kiva loan through the World Refugee Fund is Samira who fled the Syrian Civil War with her family seven years ago. Samira and her family went to Lebanon, unsure of what they’d find and how they’d be welcomed in their new country.
“We didn’t bring anything from our home, except for some clothes because we thought we would be back in 2 months,” said Samira, as she tells her story to Kiva.
Samira also worried about income as the influx of immigrants to Lebanon meant Lebanese were struggling to find jobs too. But Samira had a kind neighbor who took a liking to Samira and opened her home and heart to her.
“I felt like [Samira] was an easy going person. So I started to call her and invite her over to get to know her. And she would do the same,” said Souad, Samira’s neighbor. “So I wanted to help her. I was also very comfortable with her. There was trust between us and I felt like she was an honest person.”
The friendship between the two women turned into a business, thanks in part to a Kiva loan. Samira was doing hair and makeups for weddings in Lebanon but was struggling to make enough money. Souad suggested they both take out Kiva loans so they could grow their businesses.
With the Kiva loan, Samira bought a stock of used wedding dresses that she rents to Syrian brides at affordable rates for their weddings. With her new business, she was able to raise her monthly income from $300 to $600 and move her family into a larger apartment. The new friends, Samira and Souad, helped each other repay the loan, an experience that brought them even closer together.
“We became friends. And now we’re more than sisters,” said Samira. “We are more than family.”
Help Support Refugees
Kiva revolves around the idea of microloans, meaning that for as little as $25 you can help someone in need of a small loan in one of the 83 countries Kiva works in. With Kiva’s 97 percent repayment rate, you are virtually guaranteed to get your money back, which you can then use to lend to another person. So one $25 loan can go on and be lent out forever.
You also get to look at the profiles of the refugees and see where they live and what they need a loan for, which gives the whole lending process a human touch and a real feel of connection.
You can help Kiva reach its goal of loaning one million by tomorrow by going here to make a loan, and remember on World Refugee Day your loan counts for double thanks to matching loans from Kiva and its partners.