FITE (Financial Independance Through Enterpreneurship) is an organisation that aims provide women entrepreneurs in developing countries access to small loans that will help them start or grow a business. FITE works with Kiva.org which is the nonprofit leader in microfinance. So basically, women borrow small amounts - between $200-$1200, to help them get a business off the ground. The money is not donated to them but loaned to them with the intention that they pay back the loan as their business grows. The beauty of this system is that once the loan has been repaid, the money then becomes available to be lent to another woman, to start another business. So one donation may empower many many women. The amazing thing is that the one loan doesn't just benefit one woman but it has a flow on effect throughout her whole village. Once this woman is able to get her business off the ground, she can then afford to pay her child's school fees; therefore, money becomes available to hire a new teacher, she may soon be able to afford a proper house meaning that builders are employed, and so on. Microfinance really does have the power to break the poverty cycle. We were told at the Dermalogica Event that over 97% of these loans have been repaid. So the system is working. In addition, FITE makes sure that these women are given every opportunity to succeed. They are not just given the money and left to find for themselves, they are also given assistance in getting their business up and running as that is so important. For every business that succeeds, a loan is repaid, therefore funding then available to help another woman.
This all sounds fantastic but you are probably wondering what it has to do with Dermalogica. Well, Dermalogica is the founding partner for FITE, and has invested all the research and development to make FITE possible. Dermalogica realised that they have helped more than 25,000 skin treatment centers – employing upwards of 75,000 skin therapists – run successful businesses, and that they have the power to help thousands more women in the developing world. So, not only are they investing heavily in this amazing program, they are also spreading the word to raise awareness of how we can make a huge difference in another woman's life.
By now you are probably wondering how you can help. Well, there are two ways:
Firstly, you can make a microloan yourself. If you go to the FITE website you will see that there is a link to make a microloan (http://joinfite.org/make-a-loan/). When you click on it you will be given a list of women and their business plans ie what they want to do with their loans. You can then select a woman whom you wish to loan money to. Heather, from Dermalogica, told us that at the start of the year she decided to make a microloan to a woman, who I believe is in Peru. Well, this woman has already paid back 75% of her loan, so Heather decided to reinvest that money in someone else, and that person has already paid back 85% of her loan so Heather has reinvested this into a third woman's business. Heather said that each month she gets an email detailing how the woman she has supported is going both in her business and in repaying her loan. I find this absolutely incredible. For years now I have done monthly donations to various charities but whenever I hit financial hardships I have to cancel these donations. I find it incredible that, if you can afford to make just one donation, it can continue to have an impact on many recipients.
The second way you can help is to purchase certain Dermalogica products with the FITE packaging and then to redeem the code and Dermalogica will donate $1 to FITE. Dermalogica has chosen to link 5 of their most popular products,ones that everyone can use, with the FITE program. The products are:
- Daily Microfoliant
- Skin Hydrating Booster
- Total Eye Care
- Intensive Eye Repair
http://joinfite.org/. If you are in the market for some new Dermalogica products, look out for the ones with the green FITE packaging, and if you are looking for a new charity to support I urge you to check out FITE