At Astrid Solo Travel Advisor we believe in experiencing life as a global citizen. This means that we travel from place to place honoring the culture, enjoying experiences with those around us, and giving back when we can. We’re proud to support the efforts of Kiva, a nonprofit with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. They leverage the Internet and a worldwide network of micro finance institutions to let individuals lend as little as $25 to help create entrepreneurial opportunity around the world. To date, the organization has lent $783 million dollars with a 98% repayment rate. This means that the money being lent is building strong, sustainable businesses, allowing those served to repay the loan and continue to thrive.
Most recently ASTA founder and CEO, Astrid Clements, chose to donate to a 41 year old woman from Kyrgyzstan named Indira. She’s a mother of two and works as a seamstress. She’s been sewing hats and souvenir items since 2003. In addition, Indira prepares and sells traditional Kyrgyz dishes, but it is her sewing activity that constitutes the main source of income, 9,000 som monthly - roughly $123.53 USD - which is not much as you’d imagine. She uses her Kiva loan to buy fabrics and supplies to further grow her business. She hopes to use the earnings to pay for her children’s education.
Deciding to lend money on Kiva is an easy choice. The real challenge is deciding who to work with. The site offers categories including ‘Underbanked Areas’, ‘Green’ and ‘Conflict Zones’ so you can dive into the real world needs and contribute to the efforts that empower individuals around the globe.
Astrid liked Indira’s countenance and resume of experience. Being a seamstress with a secondary education level in Kyrgyzstan is something not easily achieved. A steady woman, Indira’s been in business for 12 years, making something out of nothing, and offering an item not terribly common in impoverished nations - toys. The love that goes into making such a product is admirable to say the least and really shines through with the same class and dignity that ASTA readers can see in Astrid’s solo travels around the world.
There are many worthy causes on Kiva around livestock, fuel and equipment for commerce, but Indira’s unique approach to a creative business was awe inspiring and one worthy of the additional help from Astrid. Check back for more inspired work with Kiva as Astrid continues ASTA’s mission around being a global citizen - traveling, experiencing the cultures around her, giving back and feeling at home wherever she is.