Yesterday Markus Strohmaier pointed me towards Kiva, a microloan page. I think this is a great way to help people!
Choose an Entrepreneur, Lend, Get Repaid
The below diagram shows briefly how money gets from you to an entrepreneur, and back.
1) Lenders like you browse profiles of entrepreneurs in need, and choose someone to lend to. When they lend, using PayPal or their credit cards, Kiva collects the funds and then passes them along to one of our microfinance partners worldwide.
2) Kivaâ€™s microfinance partners distribute the loan funds to the selected entrepreneur. Often, our partners also provide training and other assistance to maximize the entrepreneurâ€™s chances of success.
3) Over time, the entrepreneur repays their loan. Repayment and other updates are posted on Kiva and emailed to lenders who wish to receive them.
4) When lenders get their money back, they can re-lend to someone else in need, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds.
via Kiva - How Kiva Works.