Galatians 6:9 9 So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.
Last week, I heard a fairly ordinary woman tell a very extraordinary story. I was in Florida for a conference and one of the keynote speakers was Jessica Jackey. In addition to being a new mother, Jessica is a social entrepreneur. The way she defines it, a social entrepreneur is someone who creates value in the world. Jessica’s brilliant idea was to create a micro-financing organization named KIVA that lends money to people around the world in an effort to alleviate poverty. She connects people who want to help with people who need the help. For as little as a $25 loan, people with the means to make a difference give some capital to people who live on just dollars a day. The stats are staggering. Founded in 2005, KIVA has used the contributions of 687,000 people to lend $283 million in loans to people all around the world. Read that line again. Almost 300 million dollar has changed hands because of this woman’s brainchild. One hundred percent of the money gets to those who need it. And 99 percent of those small loans (most of them averaging $25) are repaid.
Jessica talked about hearing Muhammad Yunus speak at Stanford University three years before he won the Nobel Prize for his work on microcredit and microfinance.
She said, “When I heard him speak at Stanford, I thought to myself: I can do that. I can go and sit next to people and be a really good listener. His stories were not about the poor being destitute and desperate but his stories were hopeful.”
Jessica began to make her own trips to places in the world where people were in great need – of opportunity. While there, she heard some inspiring stories and began to focus “on these details of beautiful change. I saw people with full hands rather than empty hands and I thought to myself: what would it be to share these stories with other people?”
Jessica was asked in the Q & A session at the end of her talk, what keeps you inspired? She answered: “Stopping. Getting out of my own head and not worrying about success and failure and engaging with someone else and listening to someone else’s story. That genuinely inspires me. It’s realizing that everyone has their own set of challenges but they have their own victories, too. If you can listen to someone else’s story, you’ve been given a gift.”