From Belgium to Philadelphia | Learning about Kiva in the classroom

All around the world, students are using Kiva and its education program, Kiva U, as learning tool to engage with global cultures and invest in others from a young age!

In Belgium, the students at the International School of Flanders, Waterloo, are encouraged by their teacher, Nadim Bayeh, to research and fundraise loans. Mr. Bayeh has taught his students to learn in innovative ways and expand their minds by helping others.

These students are part of a growing cohort of Kiva U students who are learning about how microfinance works in the classroom while helping strangers build their businesses and support their families.

At the beginning of the semester, Bayeh had students browse to understand how the site works and what loans look like. Students crowded around computers to flip through the funding loans.

The students raised money in order to invest in their favorite loans. Some sold lemonade and cookies, others made creative greeting cards and origami figures. Splitting into groups the students picked loans to research further, which they then presented to the class. Through a class vote, 2 loans were selected: a taxi driver in Lebanon and a mechanic in the Philippines.

The students are excited to learn more about the microfinance process and raise more money in 2016.


In Philadelphia, students of the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy are also practicing social entrepreneurship with real world impact. One fifth grade class at SCH Academy is learning how the microfinance model works in a monthly social entrepreneurship class. In a recent Skype call with Kiva staff, the students shared their experiences with fundraising and showed an impressive understanding of microfinance by asking thoughtful questions.

Like their counterparts in Belgium, the students have begun fundraising through their own small business that produces items such as coffee cups, bracelets and T-shirts. This energetic group is also planning a fundraising event, called the ‘Kiva Karnival’, to help increase their impact on Kiva. The proceeds from their fundraising will be used to make loans on the site and learn how the repayment process works in action.

You can support the work of the SCH Academy students here.

About the author

Rourke Healey

Rourke was born and raised in the East Bay Area. He recently graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles where he studied Diplomacy and World Affairs and minored in Psychology. During his junior year, Rourke studied abroad in Arusha, Tanzania where he developed a keen interest in international development. He has returned to the East African region twice to complete Swahili training and his thesis research on middle class consumer behavior in Dar es Salaam. His passion for microfinance was discovered when he travelled to Kathmandu, Nepal last winter to work with an MFI supporting women’s empowerment though microloans. Rourke enjoys biking, getting outdoors and exploring new places. At home, he spends his free time writing, watching live music and going to local sporting events.