What is my background?
I studied business at McGill University but have worked exclusively in the non-profit sector since graduating. I returned to my hometown of Winnipeg following my graduation and spent as much time as possible with my terminally ill mother for next two years. In the year and a half since her death, I have been settling her estate, traveling and applying to schools. I will be pursuing an MBA at Columbia University in New York City in the fall of 2012.
I have never been to Africa but have traveled extensively in Europe, the Caribbean and Central America.
I enjoy cycling but have never participated in a bike tour. I also knew nothing about bike mechanics and repairs before signing up for this tour.
Why am I doing this?
In 2010, I went to the Vancouver Olympics. I was so inspired by the athletes that I wanted to participate in the next Olympics, but I felt a little too old (and not nearly crazy or talented enough) to begin training for an Olympic sport so I began researching other opportunities. I wanted a physical challenge that involved minor competition, no cold weather and ideally TRAVEL:) I stumbled upon the Tour d’Afrique website in February 2010 and have been dreaming of the tour ever since!
My mother’s death taught me that health is fleeting and that I must seize the day while I am still healthy and relatively unattached (no house, kids, or serious employment).
Am I fundraising?
As I will be cycling through many communities benefitting from mirco-loans, I decided to raise awareness of Kiva.org, a micro-finance organization that was close to my mother’s heart. Instead of raising funds, I will be encouraging others to participate in micro-finance. By lending to female entrepreneurs in developing countries, you will inject money into local economies in a way that encourages economic development but doesn’t promote dependence on foreign aid.
The process is engaging, rewarding and there is always the option to withdraw or re-lend your loan once it has been repaid. Loans can be as small as $25 and you have hundreds to thousands of borrowers from around the world to choose from. I have turned an initial investment of $1,680 into $7,775 in loans to women in developing countries over the past couple of years (a total of 257 loans ranging from $25 to $100).
Only one loan has defaulted resulting in a personal loss of $6.82 (that’s a 0.087% default rate, pretty damn good if you ask me). If you are concerned about defaults however, group loans are a great way to hedge your risk.
View my lender pages here: