Kiva Lending Team: Akhila Kolisetty
We loan because...
I am passionate about women's rights and gender equity -- and I believe that empowering women to obtain financial independence is one of the surest ways to change the world.
This picture was taken when I was in Afghanistan, working with a group of women lawyers and judges who are striving to empower Afghan women through access to legal representation. The women I met in Afghanistan inspired me and taught me about the importance of investing in women. I saw firsthand the impact of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and constant oppression on women. Most of the women our organization - Justice for All - serves are poor, illiterate or semi-literate, and victims of domestic abuse. However, what was important was not just seeing them as victims but also as survivors. These women were so strong and so brave that they came to our small legal aid non-profit to seek a divorce or separation. Getting a divorce in Afghanistan was a step towards empowerment - a very risky, courageous step - for these poor women. However, I recognized that these women needed more. Our organization helped them through the legal process of divorce, alimony, and child custody -- but many of our clients still needed a job, a way to sustain themselves and care for their children. Because women were not financially independent, they would often end up back in their parents' house after divorce, once again subject to abuse and prisoners in their own home. There was something missing: financial independence.
That's why I am so excited to join FITE and set up a lending team. I firmly believe that investing in women and helping them achieve financial independence (whether in Afghanistan or elsewhere) is important, particularly for those women who are victims of domestic & gender-based violence. Please join me in this lending team and contribute to FITE so that women entrepreneurs can get the funds and tools they require to become successful, independent, and empowered members of society.
Read more about Justice for All's work at jfao.org. I also write about various human rights issues at akhilak.com/blog, and I tweet at twitter.com/akhilak.
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