A Different Kind Of Impossible Thing

Suleman is a 31 year old, tie salesman from Nigeria.

9 months ago, Suleman asked for a $650 loan to grow his business and build a better life for himself and his family. 9 complete strangers decided to loan Suleman the full amount.

I put in $25.

That was 9 months ago.

Yesterday he paid the final installment on his loan!

I was pumped. I imagine Suleman was too.

One of my goals on The Impossible List is to help fund 100 entrepreneurs build better lives for themselves through Kiva, a micro-financing organization. Currently I’ve made six loans. Suleman was the first one I lent to and the first to pay his back.

I would say I was “proud” of accomplishing a small part of one of my goals, but that’s not what this is really about. It’s not about me. What I’m really proud of is Suleman, his drive, ability and integrity in taking the initiative for his business and following through in paying back what he borrowed. He’s the one out there doing something “impossible” and making a better life for himself and his family. I just put a paltry $25 towards it. He did the work. He made it happen.

Even though I’ll probably never get the chance to meet him, I wanted to congratulate Suleman on a job well done :). Thanks for inspiring me in what I’m doing from halfway across the world.

If you don’t know what Kiva is, check out this short video on how it works and look into it. You could change someone’s life…heck, they might just change yours…


Postscript #1 – Here’s my lender page, so you know I’m not just blowing smoke. I actually do this myself.

Postscript #2 – If you need help getting set up on Kiva, or want more info, send me an email or just hit me up on twitter, I’d love to talk to you about it. Also, be sure to check out these resources below:

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  1. says

    Kiva is one of the most awesome “charity” organizations to ever exist. Micro-finance has such a huge opportunity to make a difference in the 3rd world.

    Good on you for lending and good on Suleman for putting that money to work and making the impossible happen.

    • Joel Runyon says

      I love Kiva. I’m intrigued by the possibilities micro-financing provides entrepreneurs in the third world but also the effect those budding 3rd world businesses will have on the rest of the “1st world.”

  2. DeAnne says

    I love KIVA! Everytime I fund a loan, and see the results, I do the snoopy dance for the lendees. It’s amazing what they do with so little. And I am so blessed to be able to help them.

    • Joel Runyon says

      I know exactly what you mean. I got a little giddy inside when I realized Suleman made his last payment! So blessed to be a part of it :)

  3. says

    Cool story, glad to hear it works! The NGO I am working with here in Cartagena is about to start implementing a microcredit program financed by the mayor’s office. It seems as if all around the planet these loans work really well, and I hope it will be similar here!

    • Joel Runyon says

      My favorite thing is seeing the different people on opposite sides of the world connect to do something awesome.

      Glad you’re a part of that. What NGO are you working with? I’m assuming by Cartagena you’re talking about Colombia rather than Spain, correct?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. says

    Fascinating heads up! I had read about micro-financing before but am just beginning to realize the power that it has to truly make a difference. I am looking more into this Kiva project and other possibilities as well. Thanks for turning the light a little brighter man!

    • Joel Runyon says

      I’m a huge micro-financing proponent…especially when it’s done right (like Kiva for instance).

      I’ve done a lot of traveling to 3rd world countries and it’s so cool to be able to be a part of something that’s helping people out of poverty AND giving them a sense of dignity and purpose at the same time.

      If you have any questions on Kiva, let me know. I’d be glad to help out if I can!

      Thanks for checking out BIT!


  5. says

    Great post! I got addicted to Kiva a few years back when I got a gift certificate from my sister. Since then I have reused that dollar amount to help 5 different entrepreneurs from around the world. It’s rewarding to be able to help and watch lives change. I know it’s changed me.

    • Joel Runyon says

      That’s sweet Matt-
      It’s cool how, like you said, it’s not just a one-time investment. You can take one gift certificate and help 5 different people with it. (and more still to come). So awesome =)


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