By DJ Forza, KF16, Georgia
“We have to get out of this mindset that the rich will do the business and the poor will have the charity.” -Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Ask any Kiva Fellow what the best part of their job is, and invariably you will hear, “Meeting Kiva Borrowers and hearing their stories.” It’s an incredible honor to be invited into borrowers’ homes and businesses to witness firsthand how a Kiva loan has helped to change and improve their lives. Spend a little time getting to know a borrower and you’ll be struck by two things- first, how amazingly hard they work and second, how proud they are to share the progress or product a Kiva loan has helped them to develop.
Whether regrouping post-conflict, post-health crisis, post-flood, or simply wanting to grow their business to better support the dream that their children can attend school, Kiva Borrowers all want the same thing: to be given access to financial services and to be treated with dignity and respect. A Kiva loan, as opposed to a benefactor relationship, comes with the simple message that we believe in their ability to lift themselves out of poverty. That belief, and the empowerment these borrowers gain, shines though in a powerful way. Many a Kiva Fellow has blinked backed tears when a borrower proudly presents a healthy milk-producing cow, a patch in an old leaky roof, or, in my case, an invitation to a wedding that will be funded from the proceeds of a good tomato harvest.
That's me with "my" Kiva borrower, Nanuli. I wish every Kiva lender had a chance to meet just one Kiva borrower!
A Kiva loan was used to pay for for Natela's surgery. She's recovered nicely.
Georgi used his Kiva loan for car repairs. Without a car, he can't transport fish to the market, the family's only source of income.
Manana's family used a Kiva loan to build a cow shed, important to keep their cows safe and warm in the winter.
George is a farmer who dreams his son will someday go to university.
Manana's first microfinance loan was for a digial camera, so she could capture her granddaughter's special moments. Her second loan was for a milk cow.
Otar is a winemaker. He and his wife care for his mother who is bedridden. Their home has bare concrete floors and only a small electric stove, but despite the cold, it's warm and welcoming place.
Tamar and Goda are sister and brother. Goda and his dad are builders, and are adding another floor on their home for the time Goda gets married.