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A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out

A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out
The statistics are shocking: Two thirds of the world’s population, most of them women, struggle to live on less than $3 a day. Living in the wealthiest country in the world, it may be difficult to fully comprehend what that means. It translates to hunger, little or no health care, high disease and death rates, limited education, shoddy housing, and much more (or less).

One organization that is doing something very innovative and positive to help change the lives of some of the poorest people in the world is The Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA). It would be more accurate to say that FINCA works to help some of the poorest people help themselves.

FINCA has been in the spotlight lately due to the launching of their latest campaign aimed to greatly expand village banking. Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan and American actress Natalie Portman co-chair the latest expansion effort.

What FINCA does (and has been doing since it was founded in 1984) is give out small loans to needy entrepreneurs working in some of the poorest villages around the world. The loans usually start at $50- $100 which may sound like very little, but for some is enough to change their lives and their children’s lives as well. On the “client story” section of the FINCA website you can read about Sherida Mkama from Tanzania who was able to expand her tomato selling business to help better support her ten children with a starting loan of just $50.

Since women make up for 70% of the world’s poorest of the poor, that’s exactly where FINCA focuses its energy. Explaining why 80% of their 500,000 clients are women FINCA founder John Hatch states "It has been proven time after time that increasing the incomes of poor mothers results in an almost immediate improvement in the diet of their children. The greatest benefit is that, when a woman's income grows, the first thing she does is to send her children to school. And when a child is educated, he or she has better opportunities to live outside of poverty."

What do you think of the way FINCA does business?

Do you think the FINCA business model is something that major corporate banks should consider adopting, at least in part to help poor people in the U.S.?

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  • ashleyrocks By ashleyrocks
    06.14.07  

    Wow I have to say that I think that is a wonderful idea.These women need something great in their lives and what better way to show that we are true Americans by helping out those who need help.I say you go FINCA.

  • cvarano By cvarano
    06.17.07  

    Giving someone a helping hand when otherwise there would be no help? Of course, this is a wonderful idea. Do major bank corporations do anything to help the poor in America? It seems as though it works the opposite here with banks and corporations. They tend to reward the rich and penalize the poor. They are more self-interested.

  • Krenzel2007 By Krenzel2007
    06.28.07  

    I agree do major banks ever do anything to help?

  • workerbee By workerbee
    07.04.07  

    I don't want to sound like what they are doing is a very great thing, BUT, I have always said, that we should run our country like we run our household. We need to make sure OUR bills are paid, OUR children are fed and housed and educated. OUR citizens getting the medical treatment they need. Then we can help the neighbors. I will not let my child go hungry to feed the neighbors kid. I am very much into helping others, and there are those who need our help. But I don't need to go to a totally other country to find them.

  • Betty2 By Betty2
    08.10.07  

    [quote] "I am very much into helping others, and there are those who need our help. But I don't need to go to a totally other country to find them."[UNquote]

    I VERY much agree with you! And, that also goes for those who are *allowed* to come to our Country, then given homes, money, and a chance at a *better* lifestyle that is NOT afforded to the *native born* citizens of the USA!

    This also goes for those commercials for help for Children of Foreign countries! My heart goes out to those children, NO child *asks* to be born into those conditions...but, let's face it...there are MANY MANY children right here in the USA that need help! They are falling through the cracks of our *broken* systems of Child Protection Services every day! Why not help or own...FIRST!

    As the saying goes..."Charity begins AT HOME"!

  • carmelgoodies78 By carmelgoodies78
    08.27.07  

    I HOPE THAT FINCA IS ALSO HELPING THE POOR WOMEN IN AMERICA STRUGGLING TO FEED THEIR CHILDREN WHEN THEY WORK AND MAKE TEN DOLLARS MORE THAN THE LOCAL WELFARE SYSTEM ALLOWS I THINK ITS GREAT TO HELP OUT POOR PEOPLE CAUSE IM BORDER LINE ON THAT SUBJECT LOL IM WORKING MY BUTT OFF TO PAT RENT FOOD TRANSPORTATION HOPEFULLY SOMEONE OUT THERE CARES ABOUT THE WORKING POOR

  • beckman03 By beckman03
    09.13.07  

    I have to say this is one of the coolest aid programs I've heard of. I saw a documentary on this a couple years ago, and I've wondered why more people didn't know about it. Maybe the word will get out more!

  • mamah By mamah
    07.11.08  

    I think this is a wonderful selfless program and all of us in this country can come up with a little money. I also believe that in our country it is usually not a matter of life and death for our children as it is for people in such poor countries. Even when we have hardships here there are still many many choices to better ourselves. We are so blessed and more than a little spoiled.

  • mamah By mamah
    07.11.08  

    I think this is a wonderful selfless program and all of us in this country can come up with a little money. I also believe that in our country it is usually not a matter of life and death for our children as it is for people in such poor countries. Even when we have hardships here there are still many many choices to better ourselves. We are so blessed and more than a little spoiled. I don't have to answer for what banks and large corporations do with their money, I only have to answer for myself.

  • Salemsw By Salemsw
    07.27.08  

    I think the idea is wonderful-but we here in the USA need to help our own.. Have you ever walked on the Boston Common and seen all the homeless??? I have and it breaks my heart so 11 years ago I started asking everyone I know to donate new p.j.s- blankets and new socks and I bring them to shelters around the Boston and and Worcester area the week of Xmas -there are many people here that have fallen through the cracks of life that need our help alot of the elderly that are homeless where once in mental hospitals and ect.. that closed in the 1970's and had no where to turn that are now on the streets!. So where ever you choose to donate a little bit can go along way! The gift of giving no matter how small or how big is the greatest gift that we can pass along to our children.

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