A couple years ago I found the perfect birthday present for my nephew: a gift certificate for a Kiva micro-loan. He's very interested in life in different countries and knows more world geography than most adults (I am, of course, speaking of myself). He's also interested in money.
He was underwhelmed.
To humor me, he found someone he wanted to fund and applied the gift certificate - and then all was silent on the subject. Until today.
Today he called to report that his loan had been paid back and he was going through the lists of people who had applied for loans. When a loan is paid back, you can either ask Kiva to send you the money or you can reinvest. My nephew is reinvesting. He is having the response I expected him to have two years ago - looking at all the countries people are from, reading the bios, deciding what kind of business he wants to support. I had figured that when the loan was repaid he would take the cash and go buy whatever he wished I had gotten him instead of a Kiva gift certificate.
I don't know what changed. But I do know there's an entrepreneur in Africa who has a teenager on his or her side. And that's got to be worth something.