The following is a guest post from Karen Schultz the Communications Director for One Hen, Inc.
The spread of microfinance, as captured in the One Hen story, is drawing more and more kids to participate in poverty eradication. This summer, One Hen completed a successful pilot of our financial literacy curriculum in three urban communities of Boston in partnership with BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), and this fall we will expand the program to 30 locations in Boston and New York City , partnering with BELL, City Year and Children for Children (See write up in Boston Herald). Our total site visits have grown to 22,000 from 125 countries as more and more educators and students around the globe embrace service learning projects related to microfinance.
One of the student’s favorite and most engaging activities is the virtual microfinance market, where they learn microfinance stories, play games, win virtual beads and invest them on the site, matching real loans being made by Opportunity International to real entrepreneurs all over the world. Khali, a student from Gresham, USA writes “the web site is awesome! Investing beads is probably my favorite part of the site. It’s like giving [to] someone [in] need”.
To build on this momentum, One Hen is challenging classes, schools, clubs, organizations and all our website users to form teams and work together to invest 10,000 beads on http://www.onehen.org/ in the One Hen “10K” Challenge. The “10K” Challenge reinforces the lesson that one small act can make a difference.
Eleven schools have embraced the “10K” Bead Challenge, and one team, SIFE at USM, has already reached the goal of investing 10,000 beads. After hearing about One Hen and the “10K” Challenge through their Students in Free Enterprise organization, SIFE at USM started a project to teach second graders about microfinance. The story of One Hen and the lessons surrounding microfinance have captured the hearts of the children, teaching them that one small loan and one small child can make a big difference in the world. Acting as entrepreneurial businesspeople, the children will receive small loans and then produce and sell Christmas ornaments to customers at small local businesses. Their first responsibility will be to pay back their small loans, and then all of their proceeds will be donated to Opportunity International.
You too can be a part of this challenge. Please register a team for the One Hen “10K” Challenge and encourage others to start a team and make a difference between October 19, 2009 and December 11, 2009. You can download our “10K” Poster and Bead Counter to inspire team members.