Sep 2, 2014 KV Kiva HQ
By Jessica Hansen
Kiva U Celebrates First Year Milestones!

Thank you for making this an incredible first year for Kiva U, Kiva’s student and teacher program!

When Citi and Kiva launched the Kiva U initiative in September of 2013, we had no idea what to expect. We hoped that if we created and shared useful and compelling content and resources, we could help students and teachers learn about poverty, microfinance, entrepreneurship and sustainability. We hoped that if we built platforms and ways for passionate and informed people to connect, we could build a movement that could transform lives for entrepreneurs working their way out of poverty around the world. Little did we know just how powerful and committed this community would become!

Since Kiva U’s launch last year our existing community of students and educators has grown by 21,963 passionate people and 772 new Kiva U teams, who in the past year have made 70,951 loans for a total of $5,194,725, and Kiva U was honored to receive an international excellence in sustainability award from Katerva.

That’s a lot of loan and a lot of lives changed! But it is the result of each individual, each classroom, and each club taking action. Here are two examples we were especially moved by this year:

Harvard-Westlake High School Honors Aunt Kim


A few months ago we connected with Raymond and Kenny Chung, who are brothers, one in high school and the other in college. Their aunt, Kim, was diagnosed with cancer, and they wanted to pay tribute to her strength and compassion. They brought together their school and community to support Kiva entrepreneurs in finding a sustainable way to support their families and escape poverty. You can check out the video they made to share her story here>

They reached out to entrepreneurs in their local community and raised more than $500,000 for students at their school to lend on behalf of those businesses. Incredible! In only a few months, they brought more than 1,000 students onto their Kiva U Lending Team and have already lent over $423,000 of the funds they have raised to 10,000 entrepreneurs around the world.

Raymond and Kenny are living proof that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world.


Connecting and Tackling Poverty - Coast to Coast

An innovative collaboration that began at the Kiva U Summit in October 2013 recently became a reality, as students at Southwind High School in Memphis and Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep in San Francisco joined forces via Skype and FaceTime to discuss and build their own definitions of poverty.

This cross country experiment was created by two high school teachers Abi Basch and Biba Kavass, from San Francisco, California and Memphis, Tennessee (respectively), who met at the Kiva U Summit and discovered a shared passion for engaging their students in learning that goes far beyond textbooks. 


Students at both schools are actively involved in Kiva’s educational initiative, Kiva U.  In April, 2014 Southwind’s Kiva Club made their 100th loan on Kiva, celebrating with a party and an awesome looking cake! They’ve now made loans in 49 countries!

“The best part about collaborating was meeting new people, discovering new ideas, and learning about poverty in another city,” said Aaron Lee, a student at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. “The collaboration was valuable because having fun while learning is a big plus,” said Vaida Lowery, from Southwind, on the other side of the country.

“Learning about Kiva helped me make a difference by making me more aware of poverty in my community,” said Angelica Swanson of SHC Prep. “My decisions and loans can really knockdown poverty,” said Landon Hawthorne of Southwind, on why he likes being a part of Kiva U.

It’s inspiring to see how these high school students are already making such a positive difference in the world.

Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep also held a Kiva Carnival where they sold creative products such as tie-dyed socks, beaded bracelets, and even a Memphis-themed gift basket donated by their friends at Southwind High School. They raised an incredible total of $3,434.87, donating 10% to Kiva and Kiva Zip, while using the rest of the funds for students to lend with using Kiva Gift Cards.


As we look ahead, we see nothing but blue skies - as this school year begins, we hope you will continue to bring new educators, students, parents, friends, and peers into the Kiva U family so that they can learn more about poverty, microfinance, and both financial literacy and financial inclusion. We can’t wait to show them how easy it is to make a loan and change a life forever.

We continue to be impressed and moved by you, and we cannot thank you enough. This movement is your movement, and Kiva U is your initiative to raise awareness, teach others, and impact the world.

Keep learning, lending, and leading the way. Happy first birthday to the growing Kiva U community!

Comments

It should be celebrated

Congratulations!! Y'all are an inspiring bunch of beautiful Souls! My faith in humanity has just been boosted exponentially. Thank you all for your big hearts, brilliant minds and incredible service toward making the world a better place :)

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Jessica comes to Kiva with a background in international education, local capacity building, and global engagement in sustainable poverty alleviation. She heads up Kiva’s education initiative to enhance understanding, involvement, and the mobilization of students and teachers around micro-finance. Prior to this, she worked in remote rural Kenya with Nuru International and has also worked with the U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants, Mercy Corps, the IRC/Women’s Refugee Commission, UNHCR, the Centre for Refugee Research, and MSF (Doctors Without Borders). She holds a BA of International Politics from the University of Central Oklahoma/University of Leicester and an MSW in International Social Development from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Her overseas work has been mainly in East Africa and Southeast Asia, and she is conversational in French, Thai, and Kiswahili. She loves people and travel, bouncing between the wilderness and big cities, savoring amazing food, and regularly fawning over children and animals.

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