Jun 16, 2014 HT Haiti
By Talea Miller
Haiti Rising: Record Loan Backed by Muhammad Yunus Will Create 300 Quality Jobs

In 2010, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake that weakened the economy and left half the population without employment. More than four years later, Haiti continues to rebuild and jobs remain scarce.

Now you can play a role in creating sustainable, long-term recovery in Haiti through Kiva.

Kiva and Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus are teaming up with Kreyòl Essence, a social business, to create hundreds of long-term, quality jobs for Haitian women and small shareholder farmers through a record-breaking Kiva loan. Learn more about the loan in the video below:

The loan enables Kreyòl Essence to hire 300 Haitian farmers to grow castor plants, and create new jobs for women to make castor oil from its seeds, a timeless tradition in Haiti.

Kreyòl Essence uses the oils for a variety of “eco-luxury” beauty products that are then bottled by Haitians and exported by Haitians. As a social business, Kreyòl Essence puts profits right back into the company to create more jobs with benefits in Haiti.

Funding on Kiva will allow Kreyòl Essence to access capital that is hard to get through traditional banks in Haiti, because the loan size is too small to be profitable for a bank. You can learn more about   Kreyòl Essence and small and medium enterprise loans on Kiva here>

Kreyòl Essence is supported by Yunus Social Business (YSB). YSB was co-founded by Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus. YSB works with entrepreneurs around the world to address social and environmental problems, through innovative social business models that are financially self-sustainable but, at the same time, committed to recycling all profits into addressing a social cause. 
Creating 300 Haitian jobs is roughly the equivalent of creating 20,000 job in the U.S.—an outstanding achievement for any company, especially a social business.

In addition to job creation, Kreyòl Essence also helps to address Haiti’s problem of deforestation and soil erosion. Haiti’s forested lands have been reduced to less than 2%. By cultivating castor oil plants, Kreyòl Essence helps to protect the surrounding area from erosion.

Be a part of Haiti’s recovery by making a loan today!


It is important that we pay attention to the poor in our neighborhood, city, country and around the world. If you have only a little, you lose nothing by sharing some of the little you have. - Saleemah Hadi

I'm one of the huge number of lenders on this loan. Another member of one of my teams and I have been having a private discussion about the safety of castor beans and the plants themselves, which contain the toxin, ricin. This apparently is largely inactivated by the cooking process that is part of extracting the oil. However, there appear to be other concerns about health issues for those who harvest and handle the plants and this has to do with nerve damage. While the loan was still fundraising, I sent an e-mail to the contact person listed for this field partner and asked what they were planning to do to protect workers. Have not heard back as yet. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the risk of nerve damage: "The castor seed contains ricin, a toxic protein. Heating during the oil extraction process denatures and inactivates the protein. However, harvesting castor beans may not be without risk.[8] Allergenic compounds found on the plant surface can cause permanent nerve damage, making the harvest of castor beans a human health risk. India, Brazil, and China are the major crop producers, and the workers suffer harmful side effects from working with these plants.[9] These health issues, in addition to concerns about the toxic byproduct (ricin) from castor oil production, have encouraged the quest for alternative sources for hydroxy fatty acids.[10][11] Alternatively, some researchers are trying to genetically modify the castor plant to prevent the synthesis of ricin.[12]" Perhaps Kiva can elicit a response on this question?

Yes we all heard and mourn about the earthquake. But all credit goes to the Haiti people for rebuilding the country's status, their dedication, sacrifice and their hard work. www.incometaxslabs.co.in

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I agree with Susan, castor plant is a very toxic plant and a small part can kill a pet or a small child. Given that cultivating it in Haiti is a tradition, I hope there is accumulated knowledge how to handle it safely. However, I would rather encourage the cultivation of other safer crops that would grow well in that climate to avoid creating a bigger problem from health issues associated with handling toxic plants. With that said, I do not feel inspired giving a loan for a business that can create bigger problems than the current problem of unemployment. Should I see a fundraising for a business that does not have any harmful effects neither on the growers, nor on environment, nor on consumers, I would gladly donate at my best. A good way to explore a sustainable way to create businesses and restore an ecosystem is to contact NatureConservancy group, that can provide a scientific and a business analysis of the given place. They operate on grants and donations as well and have done serious restoration of large ecosystems helping at the same time the local business. Having a partnership with them has a better potential to attract serious investors and harvest donations with a big impact. My best wishes.

I also would like to know more about the side effects of handling castor oil plants. Can we please have an answer to the question about safety measures for workers? Mary Hawkins on behalf of the Darwin Community Legal Service.

It is very nice to support the needy person to get loan through internet

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Talea is excited to combine her love for powerful storytelling and her digital strategy experience. She comes to Kiva from the Kaiser Family Foundation, where she managed digital strategy for the foundation's consumer-focused PSA campaigns. Prior to that she was a reporter and producer at the PBS NewsHour for five years. At the NewsHour she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the developing world as part of the program's global health unit, covering a wide range of stories including the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, doctor shortages in Tanzania and the mistreatment of the mentally ill in Indonesia. In addition to being a news junkie, Talea enjoys photography, hiking and attempting to paint. She graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Journalism and is originally from Maryland. So she also knows a lot about horses.

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