As part of a series highlighting AISB service learning groups, students from Kiva share the work they’ve been doing during this pandemic year—with a focus on helping women succeed in business. 

What is Kiva?

Kiva is a US-based nonprofit organization that helps link underserved communities and individuals with people willing and able to provide loans. These loans go to a variety of different needs, like people wanting to start important businesses, students unable to pay tuition, struggling refugees, etc.

This “crowdfunding” type of charity encourages people to donate as little as $25USD (micro-lending), allowing the people in need to get money quickly. On its website, Kiva states that 100% of this money goes to funding these loans.

“Providing loans instead of donations allows us to look at ‘charity’ in a new light and rethink how we give,” says Kiva Student Leader Raquel G. “Through micro-lending, we can help people start their own businesses and become financially independent.”

What has the group been doing?

While the pandemic has made fundraising challenging (especially since the group’s main source of income was from school bake sales!), Kiva students have still been able to loan money to help three women named Huệ, María, and Vincenta. Here are their stories:

Huệ: A Loan for Education

Huệ, a 35-year-old mother of three, runs a business selling seafood at a local market in Vietnam. She asked for a loan so she could pay for her children’s tuition and school supplies. As of now, Huệ’s loan has been fully funded. She’s now providing for her business and hopes to continue sending her kids to school.

María: Money to Improve her Business

María is a 20-year-old from El Salvador. While taking care of her only child and dealing with all things at home, she also has a business where she makes and sells her own tortillas. With her now fully funded loan, she plans on buying new supplies to grow her business so she can provide her family with a better life.

Vincenta: Help Buying Food

Vincenta, a 66-year-old mother of two from the Philippines, has been running her local food vending business for two years and is in need of money to buy ingredients. With her loan now being fully funded, she will be able to save enough to provide a secure future for her family.

Kiva members say they focused on supporting women, since “as a female-led group, we know the importance of supporting other women—especially in a world where women tend to be overshadowed.”

Student Leader Gili S. adds, “It’s been really fulfilling to help people with their businesses and get them on their feet. Knowing that we helped them reach their goals and become more independent is a great feeling.”

How you can get involved

Kiva is currently trying to grow as a service group, since many of its members are seniors. If you’re interested in joining, email their teacher advisor, Ms. Aliza Robinson.

You can also start loaning through the Kiva website on your own. The company accept loans as little as $25USD, and you can choose who to donate to based on their needs and stories. Then, once your loan gets repaid, you can lend it again to someone else in need.