As the year ends, we're looking back at an interesting year. More of that you'll also find in the PHP|architect december community column, which I've written looking back at the year a bit. But that is about the PHP community, not about the global community. We should be grateful for living "in the west", where despite economic issues, we live a good and usually healthy life. And if we're ill, we can get treated. And depending on social system and insurance, we still get paid, even if we can't work for a while. There are places in the world where this isn't the case. I personally believe we have a responsibility to support those that don't have all the opportunities we have.
This is the reason I give to charity a lot. But since 2008, I also support entrepreneurs worldwide by micro-financing loans they need for starting or expanding their business. I've been doing this through Kiva. Looking at my stats, since 2008 I've made 11 loans to a variety of countries (Cambodia, Senegal, Philippines, Paraguay, Ukraine, Uganda, Mexico, Bolivia and Kenya) for a variety of different purposes (Restaurant, Farming, Crafts, Food Production/Sales, Food Market, Furniture Making, Musical Performance and Sewing). Funny detail: The currency for Philippines is PHP.
The concept of Kiva is that several users of Kiva support a project by all lending $25 (or more). The entrepreneur gets the money, can use it for the purpose for which it was lent, and then repay it over a certain period with monthly repayments. All lenders get an occasional update on the status of their loan, and as soon as a repayment has been made, you get it back into your Kiva account. Once repaid, you can make another loan to another person.
As I mentioned above, I think we who live in wealthy countries have a responsibility to support those people in their efforts to improve their own life. And that's why, at the end of a beautiful 2011, I want to ask everyone in the PHP community to look beyond the PHP community to our global community. Consider creating a Kiva account, put in $25 (or more of course) and make a loan. Help other people, this time not by answering questions or writing some code, but by lending them your money. And of course, if you do, feel free to join the PHPeople or Symfony team.
Supporting the global community is also why we purchased Kiva gift cards as speaker gifts for PFCongres 2011. The response from speakers to this was quite good, so I'm happy we made this choice. Now I hope other people will make the choice to support Kiva and the global community.
I wish you all a very happy 2012, and hope to meet many of you at your local conference of choice