Giving Back in Tough Times

Here are two more inspiring ‘Giving Back’ ideas plus some joined-up thinking for Christmas:

1.) lendwithcare.org and micro-finance

Think things are tough here? Try living in Bosnia! You may think of it as a small war-torn country somewhere in a far-off place called the Balkans, but in fact by air it is only two half hours away. You also might think that some of the benefits of being in central Europe close to Germany might have trickled down to Bosnia in the last ten years. Far from it!  The unemployment level there is 40%, and in one of those crazy contradictions of normality the state levies an effective 70% jobs tax on employers. ITV News Presenter Alastair Stewart wrote on his blog last week of the shock of his recent vist there and finding communities “where they’ve virtually got nothing”.

Alastair Stewart was travelling to Bosnia with Care International in order to promote micro-finance project run by this charity called lendwithcare.org. Small loans make big differences, and on the lendwithcare.org website you can find out how:

  • There is no minimum amount to lend
  • These are loans not hand-outs
  • Money is paid back by instalments over six to twelve months

Micro-finance projects (say £800 to help a Srebrenica small-holder buy animals and plant crops) amalgamate our loans, and are carefully administered by the charity. In the vast majority of cases the loans are paid back in full and on time. As Alastair Stewart writes, “That’s pretty moving economics”.

2.) Less Stuff, More Happiness

‘Less is More’ – could it be true for older men? Could having less things to worry about and needlessly occupy us as we get older, be a recipe for developing some wisdom and contentment?

Here is a recent inspiring talk by a younger man arguing the universal and personal benefits of having less stuff (leading to less personal debt/ less C02 / less stress).

So how about putting these two bright ideas together this Christmas and see if they make us feel happier:

  •  take £20 out of what we were planning to spend on ourselves
  •  make a £20 micro-finance loan at lendwithcare.org

Personally, I am feeling hopeful – the feedback from people on the lendwithcare.org website suggests THEY are genuinely feeling happier!

 

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