One of my new year resolutions was to try and help a few people in need, and I just found a great vehicle for lending a hand ... www.kiva.org
Kiva.org allows individuals to make $25 loans to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world (microfinance). By doing so, individuals like you provide affordable working capital for the poor (money to buy a sewing machine, livestock, etc.), empowering them to earn their way out of poverty.
I just signed up and loaned a few bucks to Neba Ferdinand in Cameroon and Elen Suci and Normawati of Bali, Indonesia. Some of these folks are only asking for a $100 loan to start a new business, or to expand the one they're running now. (You can lend as little as $25, so a group of people can all chip in to help one borrower.)
Anyway, I've set up a Kiva profile, and if you have the wherewithal you might like to give Neba, Elen or Normawati a hand as well - or anyone else on the site, for that matter.
Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)