Pictured above is Ghulam Qadir who has a recycling business in Pakistan
I have to admit that I am not an easy person to buy things for at Christmas and birthdays. I am lucky that I can afford to buy things that I need and have very few things that I want to buy on top of that except for stamps (I am a stamp collector).
So I always present a challenge. However my ever resourceful younger daughter Rachel, currently the Lady Mayoress of Liverpool, knows my foibles and my interests and is a dab hand at whizzing around on her computer looking for things.
In the past she has bought me things like goats from Oxfam which I have appreciated but it felt a bit sterile. I like being involved with things. This year she found a perfect present when she gave me a voucher for Lendwithcare. In this she combined two of my interests.
Professionally I used to be a regeneration adviser helping people set up programmes to help small business in some of the most deprived parts of England and in places like Turkey.
Politically I represent the UK on a number of international local government bodies and have had the opportunity to visit villages and towns in Africa to see at first hand the hand to mouth existence that so many of the people of Africa and similar areas face.
From the start I was delighted with the gift and within a couple of days invested most of it. I have since put two more small amounts in and intend to give small amounts on a regular basis.
I like thinking about which countries and people to invest in. I don’t put money into retail businesses but prefer to put them into things like recycling, food production and farming. I like the feedback that I get from Lendwithcare and to see the relatively small amounts dribbling in monthly. This means that I know that Lendwithcare is investing well although I do expect that sometimes it will not work out and the investment will disappear.
I have currently made two investments in Pakistan and one each in Benin and Cambodia. Two of the investments are with men and two with women.
To me this is what Christmas is all about. I don’t need another tie and although I will always eventually eat another bar of chocolate doing some small things for people in far greater need than I have ever experienced gives me a small glow of satisfaction. So thanks Rachel for leading me to Lendwithcare. You know what Santa can bring me next year don’t you!?
But you don’t have to wait for Christmas. If you go onto their website you can sign up and start lending straight away http://www.careinternational.org. Alternatively ring them on 0207 091 6014. Lend some money, do some good and have a pleasurable learning time as well. You could even become a Lendwithcare angel – probably the only chance that I will ever get of acquiring a pair of wings! If you come from Greater Liverpool you can also join a group and see what other members (there are currently four of us) are doing and investing in. I don’t want to urge you on too much but Manchester has a bigger group than Liverpool – a situation I would really like to see rectified!!