STERLING, Va., April 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of the Milepoint frequent flier community have teamed up with the nonprofit Zidisha Microfinance to raise over $1 million in charitable microloans for disadvantaged, internet-savvy individuals in the world's poorest locations.
Zidisha is the world's first direct person-to-person lending service to offer direct interaction between individual lenders and borrowers across the international wealth divide. Zidisha offers a Facebook-style social networking platform that allows lenders to interact directly with individual borrowers in Kenya, Senegal and other developing countries. Lenders and borrowers use the platform to negotiate credit terms, or simply to share stories and converse about their lives.
Unlike the well-known microfinancing website Kiva, there are no intermediary organizations between the lender and the borrower. Eliminating intermediaries brings down the cost of loans dramatically, enabling borrowers to offer interest to lenders while still paying far less than the cost of traditional microfinance loans.
Milepoint members have found in Zidisha a new way to leverage their affinity for reaching out across geographic barriers to make a positive social impact. Members of the frequent flier community have become Zidisha's largest lending group, lending over $115,000 to developing country entrepreneurs through the Zidisha.org website.
"From Milepoint we have learned that direct contact is a gift not only when we travel, but in our charitable endeavors," says Randy Petersen, Milepoint's founder. "And Zidisha allows us an even more direct form of communication in helping others. Zidisha for us is a new form of pen pals for the future and with this channel of charity it brings giving to a personal level."