I was just talking to Jonathan about programs called microloans, where people loan money directly to others (usually in another country) in order to help them, for instance, start a business. Rather than give to a church or a charity, where you aren't sure how your money is being used, you will know exactly where your money is going. I love the idea, and have joined Kiva, "the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe." You can choose to join a group, kinda like A|N, and I was happy to see that the Atheist group had loaned much more money than the Christian group. I don't know if that is still the case, but it made me happy. Here's the link to the Atheist group:
http://www.kiva.org/community/viewTeam?team_id=94


-Barbara

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Microloans are an awesome program. They were started by Indian economist Muhammad Yunus who won a Nobel Peace Prize. The thing I like most about them is they are not a charity. It is not the "for just 5 dollars a month you can feed a whole village" thing. The idea is that if say a 100 people donate $25 to a particular person trying to start or improve a business it costs less money. Hopefully the person that gets the loan succeeds and they pay you pay, then you can take that amount and loan it to someone else. It allows you to take a small sum of money and use it to help people by giving them a hand up to a better life and not a hand with a lecture about jesus and hell.

http://clintdavis.blogspot.com/2006/10/microloan-inventor-yunus-win...
I saw a great example of this today. My car had broken down just outside of Strafford today on my way home from OTC. I was pretty much stranded. After about ten minutes I managed to wave down two people. The first was a UPS driver and the second, probably the nicest person I have ever met in my life. The driver, to say the least, was an ass. He took one look at the smoke rolling and blew me off. It irritated me quite a bit, but what set me off was that the guy had the balls to kiss the cross around his neck and say a prayer. What kind of dick does that? How is talking to an imaginary friend going to fix my radiator? However the second person restored some faith in humanity. She not only had taken auto classes, but even took time out of her commute home to help. Through casual conversation I found out she was an athiest! Hoozah for logic! God didn't fix my car, some one who could think rationaly did.
HOOZAH!
Ramen, brother! Love the story! Couldn't find you yesterday at the art walk. Did you go?

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