Feb 1, 2016 KV Kiva HQ
By Rourke Healey
From Belgium to Philadelphia | Learning about Kiva in the classroom

All around the world, students are using Kiva and its education program, Kiva U, as learning tool to engage with global cultures and invest in others from a young age!

In Belgium, the students at the International School of Flanders, Waterloo, are encouraged by their teacher, Nadim Bayeh, to research and fundraise loans. Mr. Bayeh has taught his students to learn in innovative ways and expand their minds by helping others.

These students are part of a growing cohort of Kiva U students who are learning about how microfinance works in the classroom while helping strangers build their businesses and support their families.

At the beginning of the semester, Bayeh had students browse Kiva.org to understand how the site works and what loans look like. Students crowded around computers to flip through the funding loans.

The students raised money in order to invest in their favorite loans. Some sold lemonade and cookies, others made creative greeting cards and origami figures. Splitting into groups the students picked loans to research further, which they then presented to the class. Through a class vote, 2 loans were selected: a taxi driver in Lebanon and a mechanic in the Philippines.

The students are excited to learn more about the microfinance process and raise more money in 2016.


In Philadelphia, students of the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy are also practicing social entrepreneurship with real world impact. One fifth grade class at SCH Academy is learning how the microfinance model works in a monthly social entrepreneurship class. In a recent Skype call with Kiva staff, the students shared their experiences with fundraising and showed an impressive understanding of microfinance by asking thoughtful questions.

Like their counterparts in Belgium, the students have begun fundraising through their own small business that produces items such as coffee cups, bracelets and T-shirts. This energetic group is also planning a fundraising event, called the ‘Kiva Karnival’, to help increase their impact on Kiva. The proceeds from their fundraising will be used to make loans on the kiva.org site and learn how the repayment process works in action.

You can support the work of the SCH Academy students here.


I want individul loan from your organization.

My students started collecting for, and selecting entrepreneurs two years ago. Glad to see other schools are also participating.

My husband believed in Kiva and frequently asked only for money for Kiva on gift occasions. He passed away at a fairly young age last October from an aggressive form of cancer. I have thought I would like to honor him by giving all the advisory classes where I work money for a Kiva loan. Is there a way to do this that the loans can stay with the school, even if a teacher leaves in a future year? I'm not sure how to handle the logistics of this. I would appreciate an email with any suggestions. Thank you!

Gayle, Sorry to hear about your husband's passing, but glad to see you want to help honor him through lending. The easiest way to set up a fund that can stay with the school is to just start an account that the school will have access to log in to. Then just have the students pool their money together to put into the account and have them pick and choose the loans but the teacher is the one to handle actually making the loans themselves. Check out also what some teachers are doing with Kiva U: https://www.kiva.org/kivau

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Rourke was born and raised in the East Bay Area. He recently graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles where he studied Diplomacy and World Affairs and minored in Psychology. During his junior year, Rourke studied abroad in Arusha, Tanzania where he developed a keen interest in international development. He has returned to the East African region twice to complete Swahili training and his thesis research on middle class consumer behavior in Dar es Salaam. His passion for microfinance was discovered when he travelled to Kathmandu, Nepal last winter to work with an MFI supporting women’s empowerment though microloans. Rourke enjoys biking, getting outdoors and exploring new places. At home, he spends his free time writing, watching live music and going to local sporting events.

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