There are many different reasons to travel from seeing new places, experiencing new cultures, and broadening our perspectives on life. One of the great outcomes of travel is the impact the world can have on our views, our character, and our outlook on humanity.
I was fortunate to have had the opportunity, between undergraduate and graduate school, to spend my summer in Nairobi, Kenya interning with a microfinance firm, Faulu Kenya. Many of my travels have been extraordinary and have changed my perspective and outlook on life, but this trip in particular, was truly life-changing.
The internship exposed me to means of opportunity creation that foster grassroots empowerment and poverty alleviation. Every evening when I reflected on my day's work, I realized more and more that giving people credit without the strain of collateral is such a profound way of changing their lives for the better. Although microfinance may not be the panacea for ending poverty, it is the most effective process I have seen for lessening the devastating effects of poverty.
When I first set out on this trip, I was a bit naive in thinking about the impact I would have on the local businessmen and women in Kibera - Africa’s largest slum in Nairobi. However, it was talking and learning from the numerous and wonderful people I met in Nairobi that truly impacted me. I came away from this trip with a greater understanding of human dignity, perseverance, and a struggle for survival that has never left me.
You can read more about my experience in Kenya by clicking here.
I hope that someday, if you have not already, you choose to take a trip that focuses on impact. For one of the ways we can create positive change in our world is to first experience the world and learn from others.
Even without traveling, there are many ways you can have an impact on the lives of people in need. There are numerous organizations whose missions are to empower and provide resources to bring about positive change through education, entrepreneurship, and community development initiatives.
Kiva is an international nonprofit with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty by offering micro-loans to communities worldwide. Kiva celebrates and supports people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities.
By lending as little as $25 on Kiva, anyone can help a borrower start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy, or realize their potential. For some, it’s a matter of survival, for others it’s the fuel for a life-long ambition. 100% of every dollar you lend on Kiva goes to funding loans.
Kurandza empowers communities by investing in women leaders.
Kurandza believes that everyone is capable of making a difference in the world. Through education, entrepreneurship, and community development initiatives, women become empowered leaders who make an impact in their communities.
In Mozambique, women raise the children, take care of the homes, and farm or work informally to provide the best life possible for their families. Kurandza is working alongside these courageous women in Mozambique, empowering them to lead greatly, take risks and discover their strengths in order to live a fulfilled life and raise themselves out of poverty.
Check out these great organizations and let us know what charities inspire you to give!
Until the next adventure,
The MM Family