What I like about being a Kiva fellow

7 August 2010 at 02:25

Michelle Baker, KF 11 Ghana/Tanzania

The best part of being a Kiva fellow is meeting with the borrowers.  During my first two months as a Kiva fellow, I had the opportunity to meet with several borrowers to learn how they used their micro loans and to learn about their hopes for the future.  What I found most impressive about many of the borrowers was that although they had very little formal education, they were very business-minded and had big dreams of expanding their businesses.

I would like to share the stories of two business savvy Ghanaian women.    Since they are both still repaying their loans, I have changed their names to protect their identities.  Their courage and determination to take out a microloan to open and run their own businesses is very impressive.

The first borrower, Mary, had very little formal education, but she had big dreams of providing her children with the opportunity and access to education.  Mary operates a cold store in her community.  She used her Kiva loan to buy fish and meat to supply her cold store.

Before she even told me about her Kiva loan, she was happily discussing the current construction of her new family home.  Mary explained that the profits she made from her business allowed her to construct a home made of cement.  A home made of cement is not common in her rural community and it will provide her family with great protection against the heavy rains.

Mary also told me of her plans to expand her supplies in her cold store to sell water and sodas.

In addition, Mary used her profits from previous microloans to buy 4 bicycles and 5 wheel barrels, which she rented out at a daily rate to people in her community.  During our interview, I noticed that 2 bicycles and 3 wheel barrels had been rented out for the day.  I was impressed to see Mary successfully operating several small businesses out of her home.

The second borrower, Beatrice, took a loan to buy women’s clothing and accessories for her boutique and to buy food supplies needed to operated her fried rice stand.  Beatrice had no problems making her repayments and was eager to pay her loan off early so that she could take out a bigger loan to open another fried rice stand on the main road, where there was more pedestrian traffic.  And if her two other businesses did not keep her busy enough, Beatrice also ran a small stand where she sold top off credits for cell phones.  Beatrice wasn’t content with just running her current businesses, she had dreams of opening fried rice stands throughout her community.  I am hopeful that she will realize her dreams.

A photo of Beatrice in front of her boutique and a separate photo of her fried rice stand.

As I begin wrapping up my time as a Kiva fellow, I feel very thankful to have had the opportunity to meet with Kiva borrowers to learn about their hopes and dreams and how their Kiva loans have helped them realize some of these dreams.

Entry filed under: Africa, blogsherpa, KF11 (Kiva Fellows 11th Class). Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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