When freshman Matt Duff walked into the front office at the beginning of the year, he wasn’t there to talk about typical freshman problems. Instead, he came to present a revolutionary new way for Rockhurst to reach out to the poor and make a real difference around the world.
Duff’s big idea was a concept called microloans, which he heard about from his sister. Microloans allow anyone to lend small sums of money, ranging from $25 to $500, to poor people around the world, which the borrowers will in turn invest in their own businesses, establishing a stable source of income and an opportunity for them to escape poverty.
“It gives people a chance to improve their lives for the long term, not just the short term,” Duff said.
With the money they make from their businesses, the borrowers are able to pay back their lenders with little or no interest. Borrowers have been able to repay their lenders in full nearly 99% of the time, according to Kiva.org, a web site allowing anyone to safely invest in a microloan at any time. From there, the lender can either collect the money they invested, or loan it out again to another borrower.
Microloans from Rockhurst will also be lent through Kiva.org.
The website has hundreds of profiles that give brief descriptions of the borrowers situation and how they plan to use the loans. This allows lenders to make safe and informed decisions on where to invest their money.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to educate themselves on where the money is going,” Mr. Chris Bosco, assistant principal of student affairs, said.
The future of the project rests on the upcoming Carlitos’ Battle of the Bands, which will generate funds and interest to kick start microloan investments at Rockhurst.