Inspiration

Small business loans for women- Change their lives

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For much of the world’s poor, a loan of just $25-$100 can help them start up a small business, generate income for themselves, and often allows individuals to support their entire families as well. Elderly parents, grandparents, siblings, children, cousins, and other extended family members are usually helped by small business loans and the resulting growth in developing countries. Women especially – the mothers, daughters, widows, and divorcees – are helped immensely by independent micro-loans as it is often cumbersome, if not impossible, to apply for bank loans (and the accompanying interest repayment plans) that many of those institutions require.

After the death of, or a divorce from, male relatives, for some women it can take months or even years to prove to the state that all the men in their lives who are legally responsible for taking care of them are actually out of the picture. While in the process of navigating such proofs and paperwork, they are often left with little to no temporary state benefits in the short-term. Along with that the headache and lack of state support, comes the many hungry mouths to feed and a home for which she is left with the task of providing while the family members are in her care.

 

For women, the generous gift of an interest-free micro-loan grants them the crucial independence needed to survive and thrive in the more male-dominated marketplace. Additionally, the impact that women have on their communities is multiplied ten-fold as most women (and mothers) are more likely to invest in the children around them. This investment is in the future by sending them to school, paying for extra tuitions or study materials, and helping to improve the family’s earning power and quality of life can impact far beyond their immediate needs and family – rippling throughout the generations to come.

It’s in developing and exploited nations, where giving back to the communities in the form of micro-lending – and through the disbursement of many small amounts to large numbers of individuals and families – can have a huge impact. An interest-free loan to a small business owner in a developing country facilitates the purchase of inexpensive but crucial new equipment – like a sewing machine or serger, extra merchandise and stock, and other infrastructural improvements that will ultimately grow the business by leaps and bounds.

On sites like Kiva.org I’ve seen the forums and complaints whereby lenders are upset that the loans were never repaid, or repaid late, something that statistically happens less in the micro-loan arena. While it is, of course, the responsibility of the borrower to repay the loans they take in a timely manner, it should also be understood that many of these people are living in war zones, post-conflict areas, very exploitative environments, and places lacking in basic infrastructure, where, even if they have the best intentions, they may not able to gather together the funds needed to pay back their loans.

In those cases, it is better that the loans are forgiven. Having lived and traveled in countries with abysmal conditions for the poorer classes of citizens, I can say with all sincerity that the money they hung onto and were unable to pay back to the lender undoubtedly went towards paying crucial living or medical expenses, and very likely kept them alive through difficult times, kept a roof over their heads, or warded off some other catastrophic situation.
Our focus should be on the growth of the society as a whole rather than that, the rich is getting richer and the poor ones have nowhere to go. When the interest accrues at an alarming rate, some people even end up paying out more than their original loan and some opt for bankruptcy negating them the basic rights that normal citizens earn. They aren’t even eligible to enjoy the benefits of various coupon codes since their card is accumulated with an entangled debt.

To avoid such pressure and usury, it becomes a moral imperative of many to loan money to the less fortunate to fulfill their needs, without asking anything in return but the full repayment amount. Giving interest-free micro-loans is a great way to do that and makes the world a whole lot easier for us all to live in.

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