Pride & Poverty: A Photo Essay of Kiva Borrowers in Georgia

26 October 2011 at 05:54 13 comments

By DJ Forza, KF16, Georgia

“We have to get out of this mindset that the rich will do the business and the poor will have the charity.” –Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Ask any Kiva Fellow what the best part of their job is, and invariably you will hear, “Meeting Kiva Borrowers and hearing their stories.”  It’s an incredible honor to be invited into borrowers’ homes and businesses to witness firsthand how a Kiva loan has helped to change and improve their lives. Spend a little time getting to know a borrower and you’ll be struck by two things- first, how amazingly hard they work and second, how proud they are to share the progress or product a Kiva loan has helped them to develop. 

Whether regrouping post-conflict, post-health crisis, post-flood, or simply wanting to grow their business to better support the dream that their children can attend school, Kiva Borrowers all want the same thing: to be given access to financial services and to be treated with dignity and respect. A Kiva loan, as opposed to a benefactor relationship, comes with the simple message that we believe in their ability to lift themselves out of poverty. That belief, and the empowerment these borrowers gain, shines though in a powerful way. Many a Kiva Fellow has blinked backed tears when a borrower proudly presents a healthy milk-producing cow, a patch in an old leaky roof, or,  in my case, an invitation to a wedding that will be funded from the proceeds of a good tomato harvest.            

That's me with "my" Kiva borrower, Nanuli. I wish every Kiva lender had a chance to meet just one Kiva borrower!



A Kiva loan was used to pay for for Natela's surgery. She's recovered nicely.

Georgi used his Kiva loan for car repairs. Without a car, he can't transport fish to the market, the family's only source of income.

Manana's family used a Kiva loan to build a cow shed, important to keep their cows safe and warm in the winter.

George is a farmer who dreams his son will someday go to university.

Manana's first microfinance loan was for a digial camera, so she could capture her granddaughter's special moments. Her second loan was for a milk cow.

Otar is a winemaker. He and his wife care for his mother who is bedridden. Their home has bare concrete floors and only a small electric stove, but despite the cold, it's warm and welcoming place.

Tamar and Goda are sister and brother. Goda and his dad are builders, and are adding another floor on their home for the time Goda gets married.

DJ Forza is a Kiva Fellow working with Credo in Tbilisi, Georgia and is excited to attend her first Georgian wedding! To learn more, please visit Credo’s partner page, join the Georgia lending team, and keep an eye out for Georgian loans on

Entry filed under: Anti-Poverty Focus, blogsherpa, Eastern Europe & Central Asia (EECA), Entrepreneurial Support, Innovation, KF16 (Kiva Fellows 16th Class), Kiva Field Partners, Social Performance. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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  • 7. Heather White  |  27 October 2011 at 19:14

    Thank you for sharing this, DJ. It warms my heart!

    • 8. DJ Forza  |  31 October 2011 at 04:07

      Heather- thanks for your comment! 🙂

  • […] several of my colleagues have outlined here, here and here the power of simplicity is particularly evident in microfinance. These borrowers’ success […]

  • 10. Emmanuel v.A.  |  26 October 2011 at 16:40

    Such amazing and incredibly meaningful photos, DJ! You can read so much in these borrowers’ faces: their warmth, kindness, hard work, enthusiasm, love, humility… Who needs any words if their faces tell all these stories?

    • 11. DJ Forza  |  26 October 2011 at 23:04

      Thank you, Emmanuel!!

  • 12. Arbutus  |  26 October 2011 at 10:24

    These are some really well-done portraits! And especially poignant after having heard so many of their stories the other night. 🙂

    • 13. DJ Forza  |  26 October 2011 at 22:59

      Thanks, CP! So glad you are here to see what I see… 🙂

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