The £15 gift voucher that can lend a hand
Simon Read looks at an alternative Christmas gift that could help a small business abroad
A loan to an entrepreneur in the developing world could make an ideal alternative gift this Christmas, according to The Co-operative and Care International UK. Not only does the recipient get the thrill of choosing who they want to help, they can also get their money back to keep or lend to another small business overseas.
The concept is simple. Visitors to lendwithcare.org can view the profiles of entrepreneurs from Togo, Benin, the Philippines Cambodia and Bosnia, and choose which business they'd like to support.
They can invest towards the total needed, lending from £15 up to the full amount, and will be able to follow the progress of the entrepreneur's growing business, to see how their new source of income is helping to improve many aspects of their lives. The loan is repaid to the lender over an agreed repayment schedule (usually a period of six to 12 months) and when the repaid loan is credited to the lender's account, they can choose to withdraw the money, donate it to Care, or put it into another loan.
The loans can be given as a £15 gift voucher to a friend or loved one, who can choose for themselves which entrepreneur they would like to support.
Thousands of loans have already been made via the website and The Co-operative and Care have set a joint target to leverage £1.5m of loans by the end of 2012.
It may be a farmer in Cambodia who is seeking a loan to buy seeds, or a shopkeeper in Togo looking for funds to buy new supplies – enabling them to trade their own way out of poverty.
The scheme has recently been extended to include Bosnia, where it is helping many women affected by war to make a living for themselves.
Paul Monaghan, head of social goals at The Co-operative, said: "The idea of giving gifts that benefit the developing world is now well established, but the big advantage of this scheme is that the loan is eventually repaid so the recipient can still get the money."
Monaghan adds: "Around three-quarters of the entrepreneurs receiving loans are women and so we think these loan vouchers will prove to be a popular gift for female relatives and friends."
Head of Lend With Care, Tracey Horner, said: "We're so pleased to offer people the chance to give the gift of opportunity this Christmas.
"For less than the cost of a Christmas jumper, it is possible to change a life. We think that is the best value gift that's available."
The gift vouchers are available in a range of designs which can be sent through email or downloaded and printed and handed over to the recipient, and start from £15.
They can be bought at www.lendwithcare.org/gift_vouchers
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 3 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Joey Barton and Yossi Benayoun become involved in Twitter row over Israel-Gaza conflict
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
iJobs Money & Business
£280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£18000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Huxley Associates are looking...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# Developer (.NET, ASP.NET, HTML, SQL,...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar