October 15, 2008

blog action day… better late than never

Posted in home in hawaii tagged , , , at 10:34 pm by Malia Yoshioka

technically, i’m not late – it’s still not midnight in hawaii yet! i’m on hawaiian time… hehe.

as you may have noticed, i often post late. (i’m working on it – i promise!) the reason my blog entries fall a few days behind occasionally is that i like to post chronologically so that a post will show up on or around the day it actually happened. the past few weeks i’ve been so busy that i often have been late in getting all my pictures up to flickr, which means i don’t have them ready for posts… blah, blah, blah. (you don’t really care about excuses, do you?) like i said, i’m working on it – in fact i’ve got a few posts from last week and this weekend that should be up in the next few days.

but today is a special occasion, so i’m ignoring the type-A choronology-control freak in me that likes all her posts in order. in honor of blog action day 2008, i’m posting out of sequence, but on time!

what is blog action day, you ask?

according to blogactionday.org,

Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.

this year, the theme that we’re focusing on is global poverty. with the world’s economy crashing down around us all, this may be an even more appropriate time to think about the effects of poverty all over the world. i admit, just today i was mourning the losses in my IRA as i saw my holdings fall yet again. i’ve been struggling to pay the bills since i returned from my big trip, and i was starting to get bogged down with the feeling of hopelessness that debt places firmly on my shoulders.

yet today after reading a few other blogs’ posts around blog action day, i’ve realized that my thoughts lately have lacked perspective. who am i to complain? really! yes, i may have some debt, but i have a roof over my head, enough food to eat, and family and friends who love and support me. the international standard of “poverty” is those who subsist on less than $1 per day. ONE DOLLAR. even with the economic crisis we’re dealing with at the moment in the US, we need to realize where we fit into the global economy, and to do our best to help others in whatever ways we can. it’s easy to get caught up in your own self-pity when money (or lack thereof) starts to feel like the end of the world. but one of the best ways to break that downward spiral of thinking is to look outside yourself, to “zoom out” as a friend once put it. do something good for someone else, pay it forward…

so how can you help?

you may have heard about the concept of micro-lending or person-to-person finance. (or maybe not – that’s why i’m telling ya!) =) one of my favorite websites based on this concept is called kiva.org. according to their website, “Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.” so i figured it would be appropriate to spread the word on blog action day.

Kiva - loans that change lives

with kiva, entrepreneurs in developing countries present a profile on the site to make specific requests for funding their business – whether its $500 to purchase goods for their family store, $200 for fishing nets in cambodia, or a beautician trying to put herself through schoool in the dominican republic – and donors have the choice to give (in any amount – many people chip in around $25 or so. the best thing about kiva is that is helps people who are trying to help themselves, small businesses who can grow and, in turn, help their families and the community around them.

and if that isn’t enough to make you feel good… when you chip in money to fund an entrepreneur on kiva, it’s actually a loan. that’s right – it’s meant to be repaid! as the business grows, the recipient will pay back their loan, and along the way you get progress reports and updates from the site. and when you get your money back, you have the option to seek out another request to fund. so even if you don’t have millions of dollars to give like bill gates or warren buffet, you can chip in a small amount to do something good for the global economy. what a big difference just a few dollars can make… and the more we create awareness around programs like these, the more we break down global poverty and start a cycle of hope.


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