Monday, May 25, 2009

Kiva, Kiva, Kiva...

Have I mentioned Kiva lately?

I know I used to bombard you with photos and descriptions. I have *mentioned* the reasons why small loans to small businesses done by small people like you and me are such a wonderful way to help reduce poverty in our poor hurting world. I'm sure we have discussed why I think a loan allows people to retain their dignity and self-worth much more than just receiving charity which is spent and gone again.

But maybe, just maybe, I have a new reader out there? Someone who doesn't have a Kiva experience under their belt yet :)

Well just you get on down to

Explore the site - See the photos - Read the descriptions - click on the Lend Now button to send your $25, which added to a bunch of other $25's, will change someone's life for the better and make you smile for the rest of the day - guaranteed!

Your donation is forwarded thru Paypal, which donates all their fees so 100% of the transaction will arrive at the other end. As the borrower pays back, your account with Kiva will be credited and when you have the $25, well, you can take it out, or better yet, lend it again. You'll get no interest - but then neither is your bank paying you much right now :)

Go take a peek at our lender page. Just looking at it brings joy to our life. Enjoy the photos of all those people striving to improve their lives and doing it with just a little loan from us.

later man, jan

This blog post is part of Zemanta's "Blogging For a Cause" campaign to raise awareness and funds for worthy causes that bloggers care about.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Living the Questions...

Last year, we spent many hours as a group, delving into the Living the Questions study. I could easily do it over again, knowing that my journey into my faith will be never-ending and ever-changing. Now there is a new video series aimed at young adults that looks very promising...

later man, jan

Friday, May 08, 2009

Afghan Woman Torn by Old Vow...

Rahila Muhibi has started a program called 100 Mothers Literacy Program. This is a photo of the first class conducted in the program.

Quoted directly from

"Rahila Muhibi was engaged at 7 years old and a refugee by 15.

Saturday, when she accepted a diploma from Methodist University, the 24-year-old arguably became the most educated woman from her tribe in Afghanistan.

In the past year, Muhibi has established a literacy program that is teaching young mothers in far-flung Afghan villages how to read and write.

Despite all her accomplishments, Muhibi's future is uncertain. She wants to return to her country and fight for women's rights after she earns a master's degree in the U.S.

But the patriarchal system she wants to change back home is slowly closing in on her.

Muhibi's father wants her to return immediately after graduation and marry her 25-year-old cousin.

"He is still waiting for me to marry him," Muhibi said recently. "But my strategy is to finish my graduate school so that hopefully by then he gets tired of waiting and he marries somebody else."

She left Afghanistan in 2003 with her father's blessing and a scholarship to finish high school in Canada, she said. In her tribe, most women marry in the ninth grade and start families, she said.

Muhibi -- whose parents never had formal schooling -- wants to shift that paradigm. The catalyst, she hopes, is in education and her 100 Mothers Literacy Program.

While a student at Methodist University, Muhibi organized the program to teach Afghan women with no formal schooling how to read and write. It started with an August 2007 fundraiser in Richmond, Va., Muhibi said. With a buffet of Afghan food as her backdrop, Muhibi pitched her idea at the private fundraiser organized by a friend. She raised $8,000.

Her program has been supported entirely by donations from individuals, she said.

She returned to Afghanistan in December for a month to get the program started in a relative's village. In March, the first class of 105 mothers graduated, she said. They were taught by ninth-graders from a recently opened school in northwest Afghanistan.

"Women are the most vulnerable population in Afghanistan," she said.

Trapped by tradition

Muhibi is determined to be empowering.She has undergraduate degrees in political science and international studies.

But she still can't get out of an arranged marriage.

Muhibi, a member of the Nikpai tribe, was promised to a cousin when she was 7 by her father, she said. Tradition dictates that she cannot break off the arrangement without hurting her family's honor. The cousin is free to marry another without stigma, she said.

"At home, once a man promises, then he has to do it," Muhibi said. "No matter what it takes."

For years, Muhibi has told most of her close family that she has no interest in marrying her cousin, she said. In the few times she has talked with her betrothed, she told him to move on and find someone else.

But that, like most things Afghan women say to men, was taken as a joke.

Her betrothed comes from a family of nomad cattle herders, she said. When he was a boy, he moved to Kabul with Muhibi's family. He currently works in telecommunications, she said.

Dad puts his foot down

Muhibi knows a difficult conversation with her father is coming. He called her Thursday and was more insistent than usual.

"He actually told me, 'If I am your father, you will listen to me and come home,'" she said. "He has been telling me that for a very long time, and I didn't take him very serious. I thought he would listen to me."

Muhibi wants to expand her literacy program into a nonprofit organization based in the U.S. Her brother, Ismael, is manning the operation in Afghanistan. Like most of the Afghan men in her life, he supports the project. But he doesn't see the real value in it.

"It's a joke to them," she said." (end quote)

For more news of Muhibi follow this link or do your own search :)

You can help with as little as a $10 donation online - painless for us, a world changing moment for these women.

tip of the hat to my friends Elizabeth and Ramona and Charmaine at
later man, jan