There’s an online organization called Kiva, which has implemented a very creative concept for facilitating what they call “micro-loans” to small business owners or farmers in the developing world. The idea of a micro-loan is that it is much easier for individuals wishing to help or contribute to a charitable cause to contribute small amounts (between about $5 and $25), but on the basis of loans to be repaid over a fixed term. The old saying of comparing the generative action of “teaching a man to fish” versus the sustentive action of “giving a man a fish,” would be the Heilkunst concept at play here. The recipient posts a proposal describing their life, and the aspect of their business they are wishing to expand, and the amount they require, which is usually relatively small (from a few hundred up to a couple of thousand dollars, or so). A $400 request, for example, might be fulfilled by 16 individuals each loaning $25, and then repaid over a fixed number of months.
The technology of the internet has made such a concept possible, and I’ve been partial to this form of charitable donation as a more resonant form of helping an individual help themselves, rather than the often questionable structures of governmental or other charitable institutions where you’re not necessarily sure how the money will be used, or put to valuable use for real people.
As a function of health, it is natural to have a feeling of generosity and helpfulness, and I especially appreciate the way Kiva focusses on small community business people, where the creative power can be leveraged in a community from even a small loan, rather than the old way of charity which may transfer an amount of money without ever making an actual change to the state of mind and creativity of the recipients. Just as in Heilkunst medicine, the impetus is towards true curing and healing, and not for a mere Band-aid solution.
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