PARENT TALK TODAY: Not Another Video Game — Give a Kiva Card

by Kathy Sena

Shhh. Don’t tell my son, Matt, but I just ordered a Kiva card for him for Christmas.

Sure, he’ll get a favorite DVD, and some other stuff he’s been wanting. But it’s all just, you know, stuff.

With a Kiva card he can learn about other people in other parts of the world (or right here in the U.S.) and he can help them, in a small way, achieve their dreams by making a micro loan with his $50 card. Kiva’s mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending.

I learned about this organization through Craig Newmark of craigslist. He has worked with Kiva and recommends them highly, and has made loans himself.

Kiva was born of the following beliefs:

  • People are by nature generous, and will help others if given the opportunity to do so in a transparent, accountable way.
  • The poor are highly motivated and can be very successful when given an opportunity.
  • By connecting people we can create relationships beyond financial transactions, and build a global community expressing support and encouragement of one another.

Kiva promotes:

  • Dignity: Kiva encourages partnership relationships as opposed to benefactor relationships. Partnership relationships are characterized by mutual dignity and respect.
  • Accountability: Loans encourage more accountability than donations where repayment is not expected.
  • Transparency: The Kiva website is an open platform where communication can flow freely around the world.

So far, Kiva has facilitated over $100 million in loans.

Looking for a great gift idea for a tween or teen? Consider Kiva.

Kathy SenaKathy Sena is an award-winning health and parenting writer and the mother of a 14-year-old son. Visit her website at and check out her blog, Parent Talk Today, at

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