Loans that Change Lives

Being socially responsible is one of Bramble Berry’s core values. That means a lot of things (from recycling, to paying extra for green energy, to being a ‘water wise’ workplace), including donating time and money. To that end, since our inception in 1998, we’ve always donated a portion of our profits every year to worthy non profits.
Last year, we started doing some micro-loans as well as straight donations through a lending program called Kiva whose mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva is an awesome organization that allows you to loan money to low income micro-entrepreneurs. Why? To help them make great strides towards economic independence as they go down the path to self-employment. And another great thing? You’ll have your money back with in 6-12 months to either re-fund a new loan or take it out to help fund your own needs.
One of our recent loans went to Cecilia, a soapmaker from Ghana who uses the money to purchase raw materials and processing equipment. She lives with her husband and seven children in the outskirts of their town. She is a hard working mother and wants to give her children a quality education. I am so happy that my donation could potentially help her achieve that goal.
Another loan went to a young entrepreneur, Kerlyn Echavarria, who sells perfumes and cosmetics door to door in the Dominican Replublic. She hopes to one day expand into other cosmetic areas like facial creams, lipstick and makeup. Kerlyn is a single mother raising her two-year-old daughter. Kerlyn’s business is successful so far, she is just constrained by how much she can purchase at one time. This loan will help Kerlyn buy more perfume and other cosmetics to expand her business.
Do you want to lend money to help someone get started? Lend here. You won’t regret it!
In other non-profit news
“A Lather Goes a Long Way: Soap Hope and The PLAN Fund Announce New Anti-Poverty Partnership”. Read the press release here. Soap Hope donates 100% of their net profits to funds that invest and make loans with women owned microbusinesses. Salah, from Soap Hope also has another company, Check out the old blog post here to see the “audacity of soap”. I’ve been chatting with Salah via email and she’s thrilled that her sales have grown 20% each month for the last 6 months thanks to the support of the soaping community! You guys rock!


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  1. Sarah says

    Glad to see more people giving loans at Kiva. I have been giving there for about 1.5 yrs. It is such a great idea and organization.

  2. Sierra Snow Soaps says

    I just got an email from them saying my loan was 25 percent paid off. It is so cool. I don't have a lot of money to loan but can keep reloaning as it gets paid off. Makes you feel good to be part of something that can change a persons life.
    Michelle in NV

  3. TeresaR says

    I'd heard about Kiva elsewhere too, and think it's wonderful that you are doing this!! It's a terrific idea even for those of us who haven't gotten our businesses off the ground yet: I can just donate as part of my personal charitable donations for the year. :)

  4. Anne-Marie says

    Wow! I love that you guys know about KIVA and use them. The idea of micro-loans to small businesses all over the world to promote entrepreneurship and self-sustaining businesses is very inspiring to me.

    And, Aussie, I agree, the repaying thing is SO cool. It is heart warming to see a loan repayment because you're right, it shows that the entrepreneur is succeeding.

    I'm So Pretty, Isn't that great? And, I love that you can choose to re-fund or take the money back if you're at a place where you need it too. Kiva is a really great group and I'm glad you're using them as well. =)

  5. I'm So Pretty says

    I love lending through Kiva! I've just received an email that 3 of my 4 loans have received their first repayment – everyone's right on track. I do wish them all the best!!!!!

  6. Marmalade Hills says

    It makes me feel cozy and warm inside just by reading your post! I can't imagine how you feel. Great cause!

  7. Aussie Soap Supplies says

    Good to see Anne-Marie. I have been supporting people through Kiva for several months now, and only yesterday signed up for the business too.

    It is so rewarding to see people repaying and moving forward with their personal goals knowing it takes just a little to help them :)

  8. JPDeni says

    Lending through, even though I could only manage a small amount, has been one of the most rewarding thing I've done. It's so heartening to see when the loan is being paid back, meaning that it has truly done good for those to whom I lent it.