May 9, 2013 KV Kiva HQ
By Camille Ricketts
What Mother's Day means for Kiva Partners: Voice from Hope Congo
This is a guest post from Allie Hill, the Kiva Coordinator who works at field partner HOPE Congo



The author (right) with a HOPE Congo client Edith.

It was my first month living in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. I had a mixture of emotions adjusting to a new culture, climate, and language, yet I was excited about my work with HOPE Congo’s clients. During my orientation, I visited several borrowers’ meetings, including Edith’s group Shaloom 2. I could barely communicate in French, but Edith and the other members of the group graciously welcomed me into their meeting. I watched as they all did their duties to collect and record the repayments. At the end, Edith talked with me, asking me questions about my family and new life in Brazzaville. She revealed such a genuine and kind heart that day.

Almost a year later, Edith’s group was at the HOPE office waiting for their fourth loan, and it was decided to use them to make a Kiva profile. Since she was a subgroup leader, I did an interview with her to learn more about her family, business, and future aspirations. Edith is a single mother of 4 children, and works hard to support her family by selling food items at a market stall. I then asked her if she cared for or supported other children.

She looked at me and said, “Of course. There are many orphans in my community who I feed and try to clothe.”

This is not what I was expecting! Usually a niece or nephew is supported because their parents don't have the means, but caring for non-family members is rare. She told me that there are about 10 orphans in her community who come to her house for a meal every day. She also tries to give them clothes when she can.

Being a single mother of 4 children in Congo and trying to provide for your family with a small food stall is difficult enough. Yet Edith’s compassionate mother’s heart couldn’t sit and watch these children go hungry in her community. Edith’s food stall began to create larger profits due to the loans from Kiva and HOPE which gave her additional expendable income. She could have saved the money or used it for another worthwhile cause in her home, but instead chose to be a mother to these 10 children.

HOPE Congo lends to many mothers in Congo, and examples like Edith make me realize how important this is. Mothers have an innate nurturing spirit that drives them, above all else, to use their loans wisely and succeed. When giving a loan to a mother, you recognize her value and potential, empowering her to better her and her family’s situation.  What an example these mothers are to the children of Congo. It is in the determination, perseverance, and gracious spirit of these women that I see the incredible potential of Congo shining through the poverty and corruption. 

You can make a difference for a mother this Mother's Day. Consider giving a Kiva Card. When you do, your recipient can make a loan to a borrower of their choice and get repaid to do it again and again.

Have questions about Kiva Card? About Kiva's Field Partners? 
Send them our way at blog@kiva.org.

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Camille Ricketts Camille brings her passion for storytelling to Kiva, where she helps create and curate online content. A longtime journalist, she started her career reporting on arts and culture for the Wall Street Journal in London and New York. In 2008, she joined San Francisco-based blog VentureBeat, writing about  green technology, policy and finance. Most recently, she worked in public relations for electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors. Outside of work, Camille volunteers as a web designer for maternal health nonprofit Saving Mothers. She holds a B.A. in women's history from Stanford University, where she also served as editor in chief of The Stanford Daily.

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