HELLO + WELCOME to an extra special post where we would love to share with you how we intend to pay our good fortune forward.
Gareth and I started this ‘Aussie Overlanders’ thing with a few intentions. One intention that is very close to our hearts is giving back when we arrive in Africa.
PAYING IT FORWARD
Paying forward your good fortune in life is an interesting thing. It makes you do some soul searching.
It forces you to consider, ‘HOW do I want to help?’ + ‘WHO do I want to help?’ + ‘WHAT do I consider the best way to help?’
Here’s a bit of background on our answers to those questions…
Gareth and I have travelled far and wide with each other. To countries of varying poverty; from the richest to the very poorest.
Five or so years ago, just before Gareth and I met, I spent about a year of my life on my own in Africa. I lived in Cape Town for a while and then I travelled with a new found friend in his 4X4 from South Africa to Rwanda. I was 23-years old when I set out. It framed a big chunk of who I am today; it was intense but incredibly rewarding.
When I eventually landed back in Australia I felt very disconnected to our way of life here. I don’t think it created that disconnection, it just magnified it. I remember thinking while walking along the beaches where I grew up ‘What kind of person am I, if having seen what I have seen, I do nothing?’. I remember telling an old high school friend who just looked a little perplexed by it all and so I learnt to channel it in.
^ Kirsty in Western Mozambique on the shores of Lake Niassa celebrating International Women’s Day with locals
^ Gareth getting rowdy with the kids at Watoto Wema Orphanage in the townships of Nairobi, Kenya.
From there in, I read up on foreign aid, gave to various charities, and after Gareth and I got back from 8 weeks camping through Africa in 2010 we raised a chunk of money together for an orphanage we encountered in Kenya. The money was used to purchase a lighting system so the kids could have the security of light in Nairobi in the dead of the night.
More recently we have supported Kiva.
When we reach Africa we intend to drive throughout some of the most financially poor countries in the World.
Important to Gareth is to make a difference.
Important to us both is to contribute wisely and to pay our good fortune forward.
There are so many ways to give. To us, it’s important to see our dollar having a direct impact.
You know that phrase, ‘If you give the man a fish, you feed him for a day. But if you give him a fishing rod, you feed him for a lifetime’ ?
Well, that summarises our thoughts. There are plenty of efforts being made to give the fish, which is obviously very important. However we feel most passionate about giving the ‘fishing rod’. Or in other words, providing opportunities to those living in poverty to lift themselves up and out in a long-term thinking kind of way. How? Through education and entrepreneurship.
For us, the answer is KIVA.
Personally, we will be making a financial contribution to KIVA.
Publicly, we will be raising awareness and encouraging you, our awesome reader, to give it a try. Starting now.
WHAT IS KIVA?
Kiva is a smart charitable organisation based on micro-finance that takes on poverty by making small loans to borrowers around the World. Including, Africa!
Micro-finance is about providing banking services for the billion people around our World who would otherwise not be ‘seen’ by financial institutions. Micro-lending is an arm of that. And KIVA make it possible for everyday folk (like us!) to make a small loans to people around the World.
Put simply: KIVA will allow us to connect with people in Africa that are seeking small loans to improve their lives. Once the small loan is paid back, we can then reinvest that money to help out another person.
This video brings it to life…
And more info in this killer TED talk from a KIVA co-founder:
KIVA + AUSSIE OVERLANDERS
As we roll from Sydney to London, via Africa, we will be supporting Kiva to combat poverty daily by making small loans to borrowers in Africa. We’ll do this because we believe in fair access to affordable capital for people to improve their own lives.
In fact, we’ve been supporting Kiva over the past year.
Right now we have some funds invested in helping a group of women in Murehwa, Zimbabwe buy clothes and goodies for sale in local markets. The loan will help them expand their business. Expansion = opportunity for more sales and income + subsequently better access to quality food/education/necessities/self-esteem. The ladies have currently paid back 54% of their loan. Onya, chicks!
Before this we helped fund a loan to Patience, a lady in Samburu, Kenya. The loan was paid back on time and shortly after the same money was re-directed to helping the ladies in Zimbabwe achieve their vision. Cool, huh? Yep, it’s cool alright! It’s so exciting that the same $’s can help multiple times.
Just say we invested $25. Well, that $25 has now been used to the power of 2. Valuing it at $50. And so it will continue.
All up, Kiva has achieved a hell of a lot over the past nine years. Here’s a few of their stats.
Hopefully we can meet up with some KIVA loan recipients as we roll through Africa and really bring it to life. It’s so interesting to us, and hope it will be to you too.
Want to try KIVA? Hit up our page on the KIVA site to see how you can help. Depending on timing, if you click the image below it might entitle you to give your first loan for free!
As always, thanks for being here guys.
We feel like announcing this really marks a change in gear for our expedition.
See you in the comments below.
Ohh! And if you do decide to give KIVA a try please let us know! Because we will be very excited and have to give you a virtual round of applause.