Research has shown that giving to others can lead to a healthier, happier, and longer life. Generous behavior reduces depression and risk of suicide in adolescents. Volunteerism on the part of older adults significantly reduces mortality. Giving to others enables people to forgive themselves for mistakes — a key element in well-being.
One way to have a lot of fun on the Internet and get a health boost while doing so is to log on to a cool site called Kiva. For as little as $25.00, ordinary people like you and me can be part of the worldwide microloan (or microcredit) community. Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.
I have made 14 Kiva loans and gotten to pick the recipients. By viewing the photos and reading the bios, I wait until a person “speaks” to me. I like loaning to women because I know that when women are able to earn money, they spend it on their children’s education and it benefits the entire village. This morning I loaned $25.00 to contribute to funding a woman in Nicaragua expand her retail store. She is 60 years old, single, and has four children.
Other loans have been to a baker in El Salvador and a woman who does charcoal sales in Togo. She is illiterate, but supports her family and sends her children to school. In many developing countries, school costs money and these people live on so little that they cannot afford uniforms or pencils. Sending a child to school is a huge deal. She has paid back 22 percent of the loan and is right on time with repayments.
My loans to Kenya, Tajikistan, Palestine, Uganda, and Nigeria have been paid back 100 percent and I can re-loan that money. Yippee! I am feeling healthier and better already. Kiva is really fun to surf. Check it out and get healthy, too.
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*