Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One Thing, One Place

Most of us are imbued with one instinct, among many others. Compassion. We don't like to see children suffering, decent people being being mistreated, or evil being visited upon humans by unjust institutions.

But the fact is that it is happening everyday. It is happening right now. Children are starving, the planet is being degraded, and decent people are being treated unfairly.

Like you, I am a person of limited means. I can't fix all this shit, but I can do something. My motto these days is "One Thing, One Place".

Our constant exposure to the horrors that abound have a tendency to overwhelm us, to make us feel powerless, but we can do one thing in one place.

And so it was that I was quaffing an after work pint with a wise soul or two in the semi darkness of our abandoned bar when I made a proposal to The Siren. (no, not that kind of proposal)

The Siren and I have a birthday within a week of one another. Usually I downplay my birthday, and I have no specific gift requests. What can I say, I'm happy with what I have.

But this year, I do need something. I need to engage you.

Me and the Siren are going to start a Kiva fund.

What is Kiva?

Kiva is a microfinance organization. Instead of giving money to charity, you are loaning it to people. It comes back, you loan it to other people. We are not talking, large amounts, a few hundred dollars can finance a project. The repayment rate is over 98%.

As The Siren and myself agreed to donate our birthdays, I was astonished to find that she was already involved with Kiva.

Truly, I am for more interested in your participation than your money. I am excited by the idea that we can start a little fund that can help people, and that all involved may have an equal say in where that support should go.

I envision a little fund that can give in perpetuity, whereby all participants have a say in where the money goes. Yes, I do want your cash, but mostly I want your commitment.

Clearly, we cannot fix everything, but I can do one thing in one place. And so can you.