Micro-lending in Belize
Each year, a group of Bellarmine students, faculty and staff travel to Belize to help that country develop a micro-lending network. The project, a collaboration with the Downtown Louisville Rotary Club, helps to bring very small loans to impoverished Belizean entrepreneurs - mostly women - with the goal of helping them help themselves out of poverty. For example, a loan of $300 from last year's project helped a Belizean woman buy a motorized bicycle, which allowed her to triple her business selling food to schools. Thanks to her increased revenue, she is able to repay the loan. Besides the micro-lending work, students also engage in service work and education in Belize.
Our micro-lending program is based on the work of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank. Yunus' solution, detailed in his book "Banker to the Poor," is brilliantly simple: lend poor people small amounts of money on terms that are suitable to them, teach them a few sound financial principals, and they will help themselves. Today, people in nearly 100 countries operate micro-credit programs based on Grameen methodology, helping to eradicate poverty in nations worldwide.
A small, Central American country on the Caribbean Sea, Belize was known as British Honduras until 1981. The country borders Mexico and Guatemala; its chief industries are agriculture (seafood, citrus, cane sugar, bananas), tourism, and garments. Belize has the highest unemployment rate in Central America and 33% of its citizens live in poverty.
Check out photos from past Belize trips.
How You Can Help
Our trip is funded solely by the fundraising efforts of our students, staff and Rotary Club volunteers. Your tax-deductible donation helps pay for our travel expenses and provides micro-loans to Belize's poor. If you'd like to help, please send your check made payable to Bellarmine University to:
Belize Micro-lending Project
2001 Newburg Road
Louisville, KY 40205
If you have a preference, please specify whether your donation is for travel or a micro-loan. Thank you! For more information, please contact contact Jim Welp