Yep, It's Official, We're Now A Third World Country
Was watching 60 Mminutes Sunday night, and was intrigued to see one of their segments on RAM, Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps, a group of volunteer doctors, dentists who fly into poor, impoverished, medically underserved areas throughout the world to bring much needed medical care to residents. It's a non-profit organization (with over 90% of contributions going directly to the RAM programs) started by Ray Brock , of the old Mutual of Omaha's TV show, Wild Kingdom, fame, if memory serves.
And here's the kicker. Over half of their expeditions to remote, impoverished, underserved areas are to the U.S of A.
How pathetic is that?
You can check out their website at http://www.ramuse.org
And On A Related Issue
In the Fall 2007 Smithsonian, which featured young up and coming movers and shakers, is a profile of Matt Flannery, co-founder of the non-profit Kiva.org, "a microlending site" that "operates on a people-to-people model, allowing private individuals to make loans to borrowers seeking to estqablish small businesses in developing countries.?
If you click on their website, www.kiva.org, you can see profiles of the various folks asking for loans, the total amount, and you can click on a donate all or a portion. Continues the article, "When you loan on the Web site, you get to choose whom you loan to -- a goat herding business, a retail business, a fruit stand. Most of the time, you hear back about what happened [through the web site]. We allow the lenders to ask questions and the partners to report. . . . " "repayment rates in the microfinance industry are much higher than for U.S. domestic loan lending. That's because microfinance institutions are lending to people for whom getting a loan is their only shot any anything. If you're given a sixty-dollar loan, your chance of getting another loan is contingent on you paying that back. "
The interesting thing about "micro loans" in general, is that when you give money directly to the husband or wife of a family, for example, to start up a small business (selling eggs, buy a sewing machine) the impact of even a small loan is enormous on improving the financial postition of that family and from hence to improving the outlook for the kids (chance to get to school, get medical care, & etc.) The ripple down effect is huge.
Now, in light of the first posting, will have to ask, Will Kiva be showing up in the U.S. of A, our newly created Third World Country, to give micro-loans to struggling Americans? Oh, wait, I forgot, Silly Me: It's big bailouts for Corporations, and bankruptcy and the back of the hand and visits from RAM for the rest of us.