Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Christmas Plans

Well, I got some good news yesterday. If you recall, a few days ago, I talked about the Christmas situation for my family, and how it has been sort of uncomfortable the past few years. I just found out that MIL and A have decided to have separate Christmas gatherings for their respective families. So I suppose that Husband and I will be participating, even though it will still mean that we'll be doing the whole gift exchange.

However, Streak has reminded me of a great idea (follow the link at his blog) that I heard about back in the summer. Micro credit is a program that allows people (usually women) in third world countries the opportunity to take out small loans in order to start businesses. For example, a lady might take out a loan for ten dollars and buy several chickens in order to start an egg business.

Last summer I watched a TV program that profiled one particular loan program and its participants. The thing that really struck me about this was the way that the loan program encouraged the women of a particular town or village to work together. Each week, the ladies who had taken out loans (men are excluded from this particular program because they aren't as reliable when it comes to making their payments) met as a group in order to make their individual payments. If one of the ladies had had a particularly bad week and had trouble making her payment, the other ladies would pitch in and help her. The idea of community was really being enforced with this program. Many of the women had benefitted so much from the first loan that, after paying it off, they borrowed again in order to expand their businesses. One of the ladies used her loan to buy a sewing machine and then she collected juice pouches and made purses out of them to sell to tourists. Another lady used her money to buy little toys and trinkets to give to neighborhood children in exchange for them collecting the hair out of their mothers' hairbrushes so that she could sell it for wigs. Almost exclusively, these women wanted to succeed in business so that they could have enough money to send their kids to school.

I think this is an excellent idea and a worthy cause, and I plan to learn more about it.


m said...

That sounds awesome. I was at the grocery the other day, and if that lady can sell just 6 and 2/3 dozen eggs without eating those tasty little devils herself first, she'll have that loan paid off!

Sounds to me like I need to get in the egg business.

m said...

All joking aside, that DOES sound like a great loan program.

Tony Arnold said...

I have ready about many families who no longer exchange gifts but donate to charities and exchange cards showing where the money went.

I haven't heard of anyone doing this and being unhappy about it.

I have discussed with my wife about our families. We both are on board with it.


Cathy said...

I saw the same program on Micro Credit Loans. I wish I could see it again but have no idea what channel. I'm doing a speach for Toastmasters next month and want to use that topic.