Over the past year I have had the pleasure of being a volunteer with an awesome and highly promising organization called Wokai. Wokai is a new person-to-person microlending website connecting lenders around the world with borrowers in rural China (mostly women) who want to start small businesses. These borrowers typically have no other way to get loans unless they go to loan sharks who may charge them outrageous interest rates, which helps keep them in poverty permanently. At www.wokai.org you can lend a small but meaningful amount of money (even $10) to a specific borrower and then watch that money be repaid to you over a set amount of time. When they repay it, you can lend it again.
Although it is in its initial phase, Wokai brings so much to the table as an organization: a clear strategy, the transparency of knowing exactly where your money is going when you lend (very unusual for an org operating in China), a sustainable business model that will mean they won’t have to rely on donor money for operating expenses within a few years, highly dedicated and energetic people running it and volunteering…and last night was the big party to celebrate the official launch of the website. It was a great time and a really successful event.
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