Ayse Sabuncu

Ayse [eye-shé] is from Turkey and grew up in the idiosyncratic city of Istanbul. Eager to take on the world at 18, her interest in technology led her to study Computer Science and Business at Johns Hopkins University. She then worked in corporate banking in New York for 5 years. In an effort to balance work and pleasure, and with a passion for extreme sports, she went on many adventures, including summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro. As a part of this trip, Ayse fundraised for young adult educational initiatives in Turkey, which is a cause dear to her heart. It was after this trip she decided to dedicate her professional life to social impact. She later volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Mozambique, conducted research in India on organic farming and farmer livelihoods, and traveled to South Africa and Namibia to continue her exploration of the African continent. Ayse is currently getting her MBA at NYU’s Stern School of Business. She is a big believer in the power of markets and innovation in tackling problems of poverty, and that every individual can create social change. When she first heard about Kiva through Jessica Jackley’s TED talk, she made it a goal to contribute to Kiva’s efforts. Ayse will be serving in Harare, Zimbabwe, and Johannesburg. In her free time she loves thrilling adventures, photography, traveling and has recently became a novice climber.

Fellows Blog Posts by Ayse Sabuncu

Sep 7, 2014 ZW Zimbabwe

After spending 1.5 months in Zimbabwe I wanted to share some of the not-so-commonly-known facts and some of my observations about this beautiful country and its people. I tried to compile my favorite 10 facts below: 1. Everyone is extremely friendly and warm. 2. Zimbo’s have a very weird english accent. To me, it sounds like a mix of British and Jamaican accents. 3. In addition to the accent, Zimbo’s have also adopted the character of the...
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Jul 31, 2014 ZW Zimbabwe

I moved to South Africa from Zimbabwe two weeks ago for the second placement of my fellowship. As part of my work for expanding Kiva’s partnerships within South Africa, I have been meeting with lots of interesting organizations with very innovative business models. Whenever I mention that I worked in Zimbabwe before arriving to South Africa, they cannot stop talking about the entrepreneurial spirit of the Zimbabweans and how hard working individuals they are.    They are so right. I can attest, first hand, to this fact. When I browse through pages of scribbles and infinite photos... Continue Reading >>

Jul 10, 2014 ZW Zimbabwe

It was 8 in the morning; I was sitting in front of a group of five staff members from MicroKing’s Gokwe branch, about to start my Kiva training. Gokwe is a small town in a rural area of Zimbabwe. It takes a four-hour bus ride and a two-hour car ride (or a Kombi ride - tiny local buses that lengthen the journey by another 2 hours), which may be why they have never had a Kiva Fellow visit before.

Until that day, I had visited three rather larg and mature branches, and had given refresher trainings to branch staff on the Kiva process. My goal was to reiterate the...

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