When I started vlogmas in December 2019, I set up a Ko-fi page and requested that, if you enjoyed the vlogs, that you buy me a coffee for £3.
I never intended to buy myself coffees with that money that was very generously donated over the month that followed.
The plan was to use half of it to support my channel and half to invest in projects run by Kiva, a US-based non-profit organisation that funds small businesses in areas of the world that experience deep poverty.
Many of the businesses are one-woman craft enterprises and the women use their traditional craft skills to earn a bit more money to support their growing families.
I set out with the intention of investing mostly in women, but this was not a hard and fast rule as the point was more to stand in solidarity with other crafters who needed a loan to start or expand their business.
Some quick facts about KIVA
- The money invested forms loans not gifts. The business owners pay back the loan over several months.
- Some interest is also paid back and, once the loan is fully paid up, it returns to my KIVA account.
- When that happens I intend to reinvest it in new projects and create a cycle of investment over the next few years.
- Many loans and projects are supported by established partner organisations, who help to support business in the region of the world where the loan is being made.
- There is an element of risk – the business could become unable to pay back the loan. In that case, I would regard the money invested as a gift/donation and still worth making.
Thank you for your generosity
Thank you so much to all of you who did donate as its made a real difference already. I also used 10% of my Patreon subscription income to add to the funds.
This meant that, by the end of December, I was able to help support 7 KIVA projects, with a total investment of $250.
The Kiva projects we are currently supporting
I talked about some of the projects in detail during vlogmas but here is a little more about each one.
Vaimanino in Samoa – traditional fabric printing
You can find out more about Vaimanino’s business and her craft in this blog post.
Mastura in Tajikistan: traditional wood decoration
Gulbonu in Tajikistan: traditional embroidery
Sahinur, West Bengal, India: Handloom weaving
Zayd in Bali, Indonesia: a silver jeweller
Zayd was the first business I chose to support not run by a woman but his business, making silver jewellery, really caught my eye. I love making silver jewellery with my brother, even though my skills are very basic. Zayd’s pieces are for sale at an online store called NOVICA that I didn’t know of before – this is Zayd’s shop.
And they are beautiful…
The skills needed to make these intricate pieces of jewellery are so advanced. Zayd also describes his business so movingly – this is what he said about his inspiration for his creativity:
Two new projects since vlogmas ended
Early on Christmas Day morning, while my son was having a lie in on his only day off from the mobile phone empire, I checked on the Ko-fi account and saw that there was enough to fund two more projects.
Nadia in Jordan – sewing
I was keen to help support Nadia because she is a 60-year old widow, trying to make a living through sewing in Jordan, where women of her age find it impossible to get loans through mainstream routes. She needs a new sewing machine and some fabrics to get going and I thought she deserves support for standing up for herself and earning an income through her sewing skills.
Sobenn in Cambodia – hand thrown pottery
I chose Sobenn because she is a young mother trying to use her craft skills to add to her husband’s income and make a better life for them and their first child. And she is our first potter…
Kiva support in 2020
I initially thought that the entire Ko-fi/Kiva project would be for vlogmas only but its been such a success I want to carry on with it in 2020.
So I’m going to continue adding details about my Ko-fi page to each vlog, podcast and blog and as you buy me coffees, those coffees will be turned into investment in new projects. I will also donate 10% of my Patreon income to the Kiva fund and let’s see how we do over the next 12 months with our ‘investment portfolio’.
Currently, as I write this, we have $17 in the Kiva account, not enough to make the minimum investment of £25 so if you can spare a coffee for the fund this New Year, here is that link again.
Click on the picture below to get to my Ko-fi page xxx