We just made a loan to someone in the Ukraine using Kiva (www.kiva.org) as part of the Kiva lending team: Long Distance Bicyclists. Our team could use some more members!
You can go to Kiva's website and lend to someone across the globe who needs a loan for their business - like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or selling bicycle parts. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent - and you get updates letting you know how the entrepreneur is going.
The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back - and Kiva's loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.
It's finally easy to actually do something about poverty - using Kiva we know exactly who our money is loaned to and what they're using it for. And most of all, we know that we're helping them build a sustainable business that will provide income to feed, clothe, house and educate their family long after our loan is paid back.
Join us in changing the world - one loan at a time.
Ali and Son