Most of us don’t think of our savings accounts or monthly loan payments as a luxury. But for over half the world’s population who cannot access formal banks, that’s exactly what these financial services are. In the 1980s, economist Muhummad Yunus found out just how catastrophic going “unbanked” really is. Yunus’ research revealed that all it took for many poor families to escape poverty was a small loan given at a fair interest rate. Since then, the microlending industry has exploded. Today, some 3,600 microlenders are serving 75 million borrowers worldwide. The overwhelming majority of those served are women that formerly lacked financial independence. And the loans are paid back at astoundingly high rates, well above 90%. If you’re looking to make a big impact with a small amount of money. Consider donating to a non-profit microlender. You’ll find five of the most well-rated, transparent microlending organizations at the bottom of this graphic.
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