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Small Businesses need help 
In 2013 I lost my father after a short illness. He passed away at the grand age of 87 and my sister and I were blessed with having some time with him to talk about his life and beliefs before he passed away. He would not want a commentary on his life published, but he certainly had a fulfilling and joyful life through the good times and some very tough ones too. 
Essentially he was a businessman at heart and whilst he had worked for some major companies he really found his true vocation after he retired and he put his skills to use with various voluntary organisations and in particular with the Citizens Advice Bureau. 
He introduced me to lendwithcare.org who are working in some of the poorest countries to provide small loans to businesses to get them on them feet. Does it work? Well my Dad thought so and had been supporting a number of small businesses in this way for some time with small loans all of which were repaid and he re-invested. 
This struck me as a very personal way of helping someone not only achieve their own personal ambition but in a wider sense enabling real services to be provided to a community in need. So last month I loaned a small amount of money to a lady called Norlita Cantila (pictured above) in the Phillipines who needed a loan to restock her shop. Along with contributions from a number of other people she soon had the required £363 to enable her to restock her shop and supply the people of her village with food. The first loan repayment has now been made and next month i will reinvest her loan repayment with another small business. 
So why am I writing about this? It is quite simply a way of highlighting the plight that small businesses have elsewhere. Whilst we may have our own concerns as small business owners they are probably trifling compared to the challenges faced by some people elsewhere in the world. lendwithcare.org is an ethical organisation providing microloans to small businesses such as Norlita's. Over 200 people read my first blog, and I would guess many had never heard of lendwithcare as I hadn't until my dad told me about it. So at this time of year when we are all being asked for charitable donations, all for very good causes, if you want to do something different why not have look at lendwithcare.org and directly help a small business get on its feet.