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Help People Help People – Microcredit & Social Business – Philanthropy & Volunteer Work

I've recently become interested in these issues through the works of M. Yunus on microlending and the elimination of poverty, and through initiatives like KIVA. I am currently developing my own network, the
Language Learning and Travel Network whose activities will eventually fuse with those of this Social Development Network, to help people help people, and provide various opportunities for microcredits and social business.

There is nothing wrong with typical microcredit programs that help small entrepreneurs buy a cow or a sewing machine, or offer them the means to acquire additional inventory for already established businesses. However, while such actions increase commerce and the economic well being of those entrepreneurs, they do not fundamentally change the fabric of society. I propose a series of well defined projects that create jobs and improve the environment, the education and health of a wide spectrum of participants. These projects also constitute linguistic and cultural exchange opportunities for the traveling members of our network.


1. Bike Shops
Help locals set up shops for new and used bikes; they can make a living, and members and non-members can rent bikes; all helping to reduce air pollution!

2. Literacy and Book Shops
Help foster the base of true democracy! Volunteers implement literacy programs, and sell or lend books and other cultural media to the local population.

3. Talk Shops
Language forums to complement our online and face to face language learning programs. Engage with the locals in your target language when visiting their country. You help them, they help you.

4. Health Shops
Referral services, free advice and products for basic health care and family planning.

5. Hostels and Halfway Houses
Places where you can stay overnight while traveling, meet local members. They also provide a refuge and counseling facilities for victims of domestic violence, young runaways, etc.

6. Ecology Shops
Create jobs and help distribute information, sell
ecological products, increase civic awareness and promote more ecological lifestyles.