Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Raising Global Citizens: One Hen

Have you read the book One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway and Eugenie Fernandes?

It's a wonderful story inspired by true events. A boy from Ghana, named Kojo, turns a small loan into a thriving business that benefits his family, his village, and ultimately his country. Many lives improve as a result of one micro-loan.  It was inspired by a real man- Kwabena Darko- who benefited from a similar small loan. 

I first learned about microfinance when Muhammad Yunus' won the Nobel Peace Prices in 2006. The idea is simple- lend a small amount of money, often as little as $25, to a person who wants to start a small business. In the case of Yunus' bank, Grameen Bank, the loans were made to women. Other organizations may encourage a village to work together to secure a loan with one person benefiting initially. Once that person repays the debt, another person takes the loan and so on. 

An amazing 97% of the loans are repaid because each beneficiary knows that another person is waiting for their opportunity for a better life. Loans may be used to buy a sewing machine to sew clothing to sell, or a vegetable cart to transport vegetables to market. Or in the case of Kwabena- to buy laying hens.

This book and microfinance offer a wonderful opportunity for opening your children's eyes to what they can do a citizens of the world to help others in need. My family has made loans through Kiva.org, an on-line organization that lets individuals lend as little as $25 to alleviate poverty. There are many other organizations that do similar work. The One Hen website offers an overview of 6 organization you might consider, including Yunus' Grameen bank and Kiva. If you are called to Christian work, Opportunity International provides "Christian Microfinance."  

I hope you'll visit the One Hen website to learn how you and your students/children can participate in microfinance. There's a section titled, "Resources for Parents" and another for "Teachers and Librarians" that provide lesson plans and curriculum connections.

Have you heard of Microfinance? Have you provided a microloan? Please share your stories.

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  1. Love this! I will definitely be checking this book out. Thanks Michelle!