Posts Tagged ‘Microfinance’

Dah-link, it’s been ages!

March 31, 2010

I want a computer in my brain.  Sign me up – I’ll be an early adopter for that one. 

I’ve been housesitting since last Thursday, and I haven’t had access to my desktop computer, so my online activity has taken a dive.  I do have my iPod Touch, and the house in which I’m staying has wireless, but everything was so slow…and the keys are so small…and everything’s in mobile content mode…ugh.  Very little Facebook, no checking my favorite blogs, and no additions to my personal blog.  It’s all very sad.  So, I’m writing a quick update via the ol’ office ‘puter just to let you all know that everything’s fine…life is good. 

I unexpectedly earned a little bit of money – just enough that I’ll be able to visit Mom in Europe this summer!  She’s taking a month-long class in Italy, and on either side of that she’ll have some vacation time.  I wanted to join her, but wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to manage it financially, so this was very exciting.

Housesitting is going well.  I’m living in Burnsville this week with my friend’s daughter, and four cats and a dog.  The daughter has her driver’s license and access to a car, so I don’t see her much.  Also, my second job at the bookstore is minimizing our face-to-face time, so we’re doing a lot of note-leaving and texting.  Last night was cool though: We both had the night at home so we had Taco Tuesday and vegged all night long.  Seriously, I haven’t watched that much TV…well, probably since the one time I was fired, and totally depressed, and I watched all 24 hours of 24…in 24 hours (well…22-23 hours with commercials, probably).   

One of the shows we watched was CSI: Special Victims Unit.  Last night’s episode presented some of the same topics that I just finished reading about in Half the Sky.  This is an incredible book  about the injustices and inequities suffered by women throught southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.  The book focused on forced prostitution in SE Asia, rape as a weapon of war in Africa, repression of women in the Middle East, female circumcision, maternal mortality, and how lack of education is probably the number one issue contributing to subjugation, abuse and death of women the world over.  The book also focuses on how each and every person in this world can take a stand against these injustices.  It is a brutal and inspiring book.

So, in this episode of CSI: SVU, a woman was raped and another woman walked in on the attack.  The witness grabbed the man off of the victim and punched him in the face.  Turns out that the witness was an illegal immigrant from Congo (i.e., Democratic Republic of Congo) who was a victim of rape by a rebel army.  Her and her five year old daughter were raped in front of her husband, who fled while the rebels were attacking his family.  The daughter died as a result of the attack.  The man returned home afterwards and cast his wife out because of the shame she brought to the family by being raped.  The woman escaped to a refuge camp, which was later attacked by a (US-defined) terrorist group.  All of the women were raped and forced to marry soldiers and leaders of the terrorist group.

So…cheery… 

But very, very good to see.  The more we hear, and the more we learn about these unbelievable  (to us in industrialized countries) circumstances in which our fellow human beings are existing, the more able and likely we’ll be to put our heads, hearts and hands together to end this barbarism. 

I’m currently researching a microfinancing website called Kiva (kiva.org).  Microfinancing is so simple a solution to poverty and inequity as to be mind-boggling (so simple, that there’s an app for that, literally). 

The College of Wikipedia textbook says this about microfinance:

Microfinance is the provision of financial services to low-income clients, including consumers and the self-employed, who traditionally lack access to banking and related services.

More broadly, it is a movement whose object is “a world in which as many poor and near-poor households as possible have permanent access to an appropriate range of high quality financial services, including not just credit but also savings, insurance, and fund transfers.” Those who promote microfinance generally believe that such access will help poor people out of poverty.

There was an entire section about microfinance in Half the Sky, and I’ve just picked up a copy of Banker to the Poor, by Muhammed Yunus, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his efforts in microfinance.  Kiva is a microfinance organization that lets anyone provide lending to projects or groups in any area of the world.  Check it out – it will blow your mind.


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