You Can Pay It Forward, Too

A while ago I rewatched the movie ”Pay It Forward” from 2000, featuring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt in the roles. It’s a drama movie about 11-year old Trevor, who lives with his mother in Las Vegas. Trevor’s civics teacher, Mr. Simonet, gives an assignment to his class; doing something to make the world a better place. Trevor creates a scheme called ”Pay It Forward”, in which he helps three persons with something they cannot do on their own. Those three persons, in turn, will help three other persons, and so on. In this way, the help will be sent forward to an increasing number of people, just likes rings on the water.

Although ”Pay It Forward” is based on a novel, the movement actually exists for real. There is even an international Pay It Forward Day, which occurs on April 28th every year, in which people from more than 80 countries worldwide take active part.

Paying it forward can be as simple as stopping to talk with someone who needs a bit of company. Or buying a cup of coffee for someone. Sharing your time with someone can sometimes be the most valued gift of all.

Another great way of helping people is by providing an economic loan that will help them realize their plans. This is exactly what the organization Kiva does. The web site brings borrowers, often from poor countries around the world, and lenders together, who are willing to lend an amount of 25 dollars or more for a limited time without any claims for interest. One borrower will typically be supported by a number of lenders, who will each month receive an update on status and repayments etc. Once a loan has been fully repaid, the borrower can either withdraw the money or re-invest it in another loan.

I have been a Kiva member since 2012. To this day I have supported 21 people from the same number of countries, in their desire to turn their plans to reality. Among others I have helped Ada from El Salvador and Desida from the Philippines to buy groceries for their stores. I helped Nengah from Indonesia to get materials for his art crafts, and I helped Nune from Armenia cope with the costs of the medications she needs in order to manage her daily life.

If you, too, want to make a difference for someone in need of help, please consider doing it by providing a loan through Kiva!