Gemstones are found all across the globe, and many important deposits are located in countries where poverty is a significant issue. By the time a stone is exported, cut, sold, resold, and finally turned into jewelry, very little of the profit actually accrues to the people of the source country. As a small gesture of respect and thanks, I have decided to use a portion of the profits from Distinction Jewelry to fund loans through kiva.org to small business owners involved in the jewelry trade of gem-producing nations.
Peer-to-peer micro-lending allows us to help small family businesses around the world through the nonprofit organization Kiva. Kiva links “micro-bankers” like us with screened “micro-preneurs” in the developing world (and now even in the U.S.).
You can view Distinction Jewelry’s lending page here, and even make a loan yourself! Improving the lives of small family business owners through microlending is a fantastic way to make a difference many times over with one sum of money. Our first Kiva loan has been repaid in full, and we were able to put the money into another loan.
The first loan recipient is Catherine Makau in Kariobangi Nairobi, Kenya. Kenya is home to many amazing gemstone deposits including the rare and beautiful green Tsavorite garnet. For many years now, Catherine has operated a shop where she makes and sells bead work jewelry. With this loan, she plans to buy more of the raw materials she needs to make the items she sells.