May 6, 2013 KV Kiva HQ
By Brandon Smith
How Kiva lenders are honoring their mothers and other moms around the world for Mother's Day
This is the first installment of a Mother's Day guest blog series, highlighting what Kiva makes possible for mothers, whether they are lenders, borrowers, or Kiva partners.

As we approach Mother’s Day next Sunday, we wanted to spotlight three Kiva lenders and their stories about making a difference for moms around the world. Lloyd Thompson honors his mom's charitable spirit from the other side of the world. Susan Linton makes loans in memory of her mother and grandmother. And Julie Patton uses Kiva to educate her own son about giving.

First, meet Lloyd. Here's his story in his own words:



Kiva lender Lloyd Thompson's mother, Lynette.

I purchased a Kiva Card for my mother on Mother’s Day in the U.K. My mother is one of those people who gives her time to help others. It gives her pleasure to collect clothes to be sent to developing countries, care for sick and elderly friends and then fit in a generous helping of grandparent duties for my niece and nephew.

For me, I generally find it easier to fund charitable initiatives than give my time. Being able to send a gift via email from my home in Australia to the U.K. is also very convenient. Quite often, my family doesn't know what to buy for each other when it comes to special occasions. We have everything we need and posting bulky items internationally can be wasteful.

I like Kiva because it's an efficient use of money that helps people help themselves and it’s rewarding to all involved.

With her new Kiva Card, my mother soon got the hang of Kiva; she is quite computer savvy for a 67-year-old. She enjoyed viewing the loan profiles, although found it hard to choose. She finally chose a loan to help a farmer in Rwanda buy merchandise for his grocery store.

Now that the loan has already started paying back, soon it will be time to put those funds to good use again in the Kiva community.

I think we have started something that will continue on for celebrations to come!

Kiva lender Susan Linton writes in:

Mother’s Day will soon be here. The world changes from year to year, our lives from day to day, but the love and memories of my mother and my grandmothers I have lost do not fade away. This Mothers Day, I will remember them with sad but sweet thoughts. They instilled the ethics of helpfulness, thoughtfulness, strength of character, and tenacity in me. And I will always have fond memories of special times they spent with me. I look for ways to honor those memories in ways they would have appreciated. Many of my Kiva loans are a personal tribute to my beloved family mentors. At times, the sweet face of a Kiva borrower that reminds me of my grandmother prompts me to loan. Other times, a pretty flower garden my mother would have tended motivates me to click "Lend."

Kiva borrowers are frequently looking for additional education to help their children lead more successful lives. Many of my education loans are tributes to my parents who gave up much to send me, the first person in the family, to attend college.

This year on Mother’s Day, I will search for special Kiva loans to pay tribute to the most important people in my life who are only with me in spirit. They would have loved being remembered with a loan helping give others an opportunity to improve their lives.

Finally, lender Julie Patton shares how she uses Kiva as a mother to teach her son about the world:



Julie's son Vaughn. Together, they created a "Kiva binder" for his sixth birthday, complete with borrower profiles and a coloring map.

I love giving my mother Kiva Cards -- for Mother’s Day, birthdays, or even to say thanks for helping us out all the time. (Awesome Grandmas deserve rewards too!) And as a mother myself, I’m constantly looking for ways to teach my children about helping other people.

Now that my son Vaughn is six, it’s his turn to learn about how much you can do with $25 when you join together with lenders around the world. For his most recent birthday, we decided to create a Kiva binder to keep a physical record of all his loans. We started it off with six, and I hope that by building a binder we can take the time to cherish each borrower and -- over the years -- learn to appreciate what he has been able to do since his sixth birthday.

The Kiva binder has a map so he can color in the countries where he's made a loan and learn a little about world geography. We also print each borrower's profile page and save it in the binder so that he can see their faces, read their loan descriptions and the reason why he chose the loans. I am sure those reasons will change considerably over the years, or maybe they won’t. I look forward to watching him grow and see a reflection of his life choices through those Kiva loans.

I actually shared Vaughn’s loans with the Team Canada lending team and was so proud to see other lenders (who are now my friends) join in on his loans, cheering them on until all his loans were fully funded! One lender generously gave him a Kiva Card, another lender sent him a book so we could share the story of making a difference. There were days the support was overwhelming -- for me as a mom, and for a little boy far away from them -- it really touched my heart. And one day I know, he will be proud to find out Kiva lenders from around the world were sharing the experience with him to celebrate his special day! That is one of the joys of Kiva, the feeling you get when you join with others to support something. In this case, it was a lot closer to home.

Mother's Day is May 12. Have you found the perfect gift yet? Consider giving a Kiva Card. When you do, your recipient will get to make a loan to the borrower of their choice for free. When the loan gets repaid, they'll get the money back to make a difference for even more borrowers worldwide. Purchase a Kiva Card today.

Stay tuned for more posts in this special Mother's Day series, including perspectives from partners and borrowers on how Kiva has made a difference in their lives.



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Brandon Smith Brandon is from North Carolina, where he studied journalism at UNC Chapel Hill. After interning at Kiva in 2012, he joined the staff full time in 2013 to serve as the Community Marketing Coordinator, Kiva's liaison with the 25,000 lending team communities. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys medium-format photography, biking around the bay, and keeping in touch with friends and family on the east coast.

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