By Medha Patel ‘21
Kiva is a worldwide nonprofit organization that lends microloans to help alleviate poverty. Loans are given to entrepreneurs, students looking to go to school, people facing natural disasters, and more people in need. Loans range anywhere from $25 to $100. Kiva is different from other charities and organizations because money isn’t donated: it’s a loan. This difference encourages the loan-receivers to take advantage of the money that they have been given. Kiva’s motto is “lifting one to lift many.” By helping one business in a community, opportunities are created for others as well.
These loans don’t have interest on them, which helps to make sure that people can actually pay back the money. Since 2005, Kiva has funded more than a million loans, amounting to one billion dollars internationally.
The money given by Kiva eventually returns to loaners. Because the money isn’t just donated, once the money is returned, the club can continue to fund other projects. To both spread awareness of Kiva and raise money for it, the club has held multiple bake sales. In two months, the high school’s club has been able to help fund eight projects; which included helping three kids attend school and five to start businesses.
Former Kiva Club President and Founder Sachi Patel said that Mohamed, a university graduate from Jordan, was loaned money to buy filtration systems for his father’s business that cleans and distributes drinking water affected by the Syrian Civil War. Eulogia is a student from Peru who needed money to fund her community’s grocery store. Claudia’s Group from Tanzania was in need of a donation so that they could buy fertilizer, cost-effective hybrid seeds, and eleven solar lights. Kiva’s projects have an incredibly extensive reach, helping communities miles apart.
Freshman Jessica Hall, Vice President of the high school’s club, said, “It is really amazing that we live in a small town in Pennsylvania and yet we are changing the world bit by bit. Although it doesn’t seem feasible at first, even high school students can make a difference and that is really astounding.”
Another club member, freshman Kriti Kalary, agreed that “Kiva has taught me that no matter how small a loan or helpful act may be it’s very important to those who need the help. A little comes a long way and doing anything in the present moment is better than just dreaming and hoping.”