Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious (AASFSHNR) at Kiva.org have raised $3 million (USD) in interest-free loans to help end poverty. Kiva.org is a US non-profit organization that connects lenders with borrowers, from around the globe, who need a micro-finance loan. Peter Kroll, the AASFSHNR community team leader and foundered, commented "This is still the beginning for us. We have organized 14,000 Enlightened individuals from a diaspora of 100's of millions. Our community is thought based and we believe fair peer-to-peer lending can provide the economic opportunity to poor entrepreneurs who have been closed off from the mainstream banking system."
Most of the world's poor live without access to banking. Without collateral they cannot arrange for a loan or open a savings account. Kiva.org has made it possible for the an ordinary person to proactively contribute to making a positive change to this situation.
Kiva's co-founder Matt Flannery has put out his call that "now is a time for the world's privileged to demonstrate to the world's poor just how compassionate and resilient we are." The AASFSHNR community has responded, as well as many other communities and individuals. More than five years after Kiva's founding almost $175 million has been lent worldwide.
Micro-finance is the brain-child of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mohammad Yunus. Yunus realized decades ago, on a visit to a poor village in his country of Bangladesh, that the local people were caught in an endless cycle of debt caused by loan-sharks. He realized what a difference it would make by "removing the barriers faced by the poor so that they can unleash their creativity and intelligence in the service of humanity."