Two years ago, Vicki and I decided that in lieu of a classroom gift exchange, we would ask the students to donate $1 to be used at Kiva.org to help fulfill loans to individuals battling poverty.
We told the students that we would match the amount that they donated and we ended up loaning $200. We could only loan $25 to each person and once their loan was fully funded in conjunction with other lenders, we would be notified. We went through the loan descriptions and the kids chose the projects to help fund.
Ni Putu Mili from Indonesia needed a loan to buy piglets and feed.
Valeriana Churata of Bolivia requested a loan to
purchase fabric, wool and thread to make blankets.
Adjo Odette Djogbessi of Togo wished to buy fabric and dyes with her loan.
Vo Thi Ly, Vietnam, also purchased piglets and mash.
Mamlakat Mardonova lives in Tajikistan.
She has a degree in economics and is married with ten children. She needed a loan for her clothing business. The kids determined that anyone with ten kids REALLY needed the money.
Parmo Mendullo is a widow in Tanzania who
supports herself through the sale of charcoal.
Nancy Helida De La Cruz Araujo of Peru
was the first one to repay her loan. She paid it off
early and used her money to supplement her general store inventory.
For the final loan, the students chose a group
because "they could help more people".
This group of 15 women sew curtains, blankets
and clothing in the Dominican Republic.
Within three days, all of the projects were fully funded.
Repayment plans were made for anywhere from six months to fifteen months.
Each one of the loans was repaid in full.
Vicki and I had decided to reinvest the money into a new group of loans,
but we hadn't gotten to it yet and she had told me to make some choices when I had a chance. After battling the commercialism at the Evil Empire, I came home and made eight more loans.
Corazon Tomines is from the village of San Manuel in the Phillipines. She is 50 years old, widowed and has six school-aged children. To make a living, Corazon owns and operates a business venture in the food sector making and selling food. The main source of income for the business comes from making native cakes and other delicacies for sale.
Alberta Clarion is from the village of Tiaman, Bonifacio, Misamis Occ, also in the Phillipines. She is 52 years old. Alberta is married and has four school-aged children. To make a living, Alberta operates a specialized retail store. The main source of income for the business comes from selling daily-use products such as bread, shampoo, soap and toothpaste in the local community.
Isabel is a 34 year old single mother. She is father and mother to her two daughters. The oldest is 12, and the youngest is 7. They both go to the same school. They live in the Imperial city of Cusco, Peru. Her last name is not given to protect her identity. She alternates her activities between the household and private courses that she teaches. She teaches private classes that reinforce mathematical reasoning, verbal reasoning, languages, and physics, etc. She teaches classes in the afternoons for students who are getting low grades in school. She has been doing this for several years. It has gone very well for her thanks to the effort she puts into her work. She is a fighter, and she is enterprising. She devotes herself to teaching with much joy.
Federita Garcia is a 73-year-old farmer from Talibon, Bohol in the Phillipines. She has been tilling the rice field to be able to ensure enough food for the family. She is borrowing money for the rental of farm equipment.
Jenart Ebonimen is 46 years old and married with 9 children. Her husband sells planks at retail prices to his customers. She cooks and sells fufu at wholesale and retail prices to her customers. Fufu comes from fermented cassava.
Teresita is 51 years old with 11 children who range in age from 10 to 32 years old. Most of the younger ones are still in school but the older children are already working and helping to support the family. This family of 13 lives in the village of Bi-ao, in the town of Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, Phillipines. To help her husband support their family, Teresita started with pig fattening and raising chickens, selling the chickens in the local market after raising them for 45 days. This venture became a family affair as the younger kids were able to help with the chores of feeding the animals and cleaning their pens, which were all located in the backyard of their house.
Virginia sells a variety of products from her store in Bolivia, and also has another business selling eggs. Her husband is a gardener and bricklayer and he often travels, leaving her in charge of the home. She has 5 children, but they are already independent except for the youngest, who studies at the University where his mother covers his expenses.
In keeping with the students' desire to help as many people as possible, I also chose one group of 13 individuals from Bolivia.
They need the loan to further their clothing businesses.
In six to twelve months, these loans will be repaid and once
again can be re-invested in other people fighting poverty.
It was truly the gift that keeps on giving.
I hope everyone will consider Kiva this holiday season.