Juan Barbed

Ever since I can remember, I imagined myself suit up, wearing a tie and working in the stock market. I got my Finance and Business Management Degree in Deusto University and ESCP-Paris, and I achieved my objective: I joined a Wealth Management boutique. But after a couple of years of tough fight with European financial markets (especially with Spanish one) I had the opportunity to participate in “Imagine”, an innovation and entrepreneurship program in Silicon Valley. Visiting companies like IDEO, Google, lots of start-ups like Waze and of course Kiva, opened my mind and made me realize my passion was helping the poor and the moment to do what I loved was now. That´s why I decided to quit my job and to live a life experience doing 3 Kiva fellowships in 3 different continents and languages. But after the 2nd one, this unique opportunity appeared and my dream of being part of Kiva team came true. Keep on dreaming with Kiva!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiEasEC3dP0

Fellows Blog Posts by Juan Barbed

Apr 20, 2013

One popular critic to microfinance is it promotes businesses that don´t bring value. For instance, giving a loan to a woman to start a tomato shop beside 10 other tomato shops. Instead of creating value, it divides it.

This is why one of the biggest bets from Kiva are green loans. Under this category you can have solar lamps, ecological kitchen and other type of products that aim to improve families standard of life.

I was not sure of the effectiveness of this type of loans until I met….. He has a very humble family that lives in the coast of El Salvador and he is a fisherman...

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Mar 12, 2013

This last week I have started to meet borrowers and feel the reality they face. It is a reality full of difficulties and challenges, in which a small amount of money can make the difference to the person that receives it, his family and his community.

ID Ghana has a different approach to microfinance, they call it “Onipa Nua”. It is based on group relationships. What they do is forming 15 to 40 people groups (95% of members are women) and they are trained in different abilities: saving, convive, how to manage a business, loaning, health…and many more areas that help them build a...

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Jan 5, 2013 SV El Salvador, NI Nicaragua

When I hear the words “Christmas” and “end of the year” my mind quickly thinksabout Christmas trees, baby Jesus, cold, family, presents, snow and many more. When I ask the people from Centroamerica whatcomes to their mind with these same words they mostly answer the same, the only thing they change is they don´t say cold neither snow, and they normally include beach or river instead of them.

1st January in Rivas, Nicaragua

After tough 3 months of work in El Salvador with Fundación Campo, Padecomsm and Integral I have just taken deserved holidays. Destination: South of...

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Dec 31, 2012

Salvadorean people are strict Christians and their most important date in their calendar is Christmas Eve. They celebrate the Birth of baby Jesus. They live this day quite similar to American  people: meeting the whole family and sharing together.

This is how 24th December was:

5:30

Wake up! Don´t ask me why we get up so early, I don´t understand it yet.

6:30

We killed 2 hens, we plucked them and quartered them, with all the preparation they need.

8:00

Go to the bank to withdraw the present our brothers & sisters that live in USA...

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Dec 2, 2012 SV El Salvador

Few days ago, an American couple that collaborate with Kiva translating loans sent me an email. The team of volunteers they belong to is one of the most important pieces in Kiva (there are more than 800 volunteers around the world). They make possible all loans, no matter where they come from, are accessible in English.

This couple not only translate loans but also lend money to entrepreneurs through Kiva, especially to El Salvador.  Few years ago, they lived for two years in a little Salvadorean village working as volunteers. When they went back to the USA, they did not want to...

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Nov 16, 2012 SV El Salvador

There is a famous song that defines Salvadoreans as people that eat everything, enjoy everything and do everything. I have checked these lyrics are right. There is a word usually used for referring to Salvadoreans, this is “rebuscados”. If someone is “rebuscado” it means he does the impossible to achieve what he needs: paying back a loan, help a relative or feed his family. As they say, they can even sell rocks to find a way to survive.

Like many countries in the American continent, poverty affects great part of the population and a job is extremely difficult to find. This is why...

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Nov 1, 2012 SV El Salvador

After the first days in EL Salvador it looked like if I had never left Spain. Every single newspaper I read, there were FC Barcelona or Real Madrid at the front page. I did not know at all the fever salvadoran people had about football and especially about Spanish soccer. Wherever you look to, you can see Barça´s or Real Madrid´s colours and emblems: in every mean of transport, t-shirts, houses, boats…

     

Wherever I say I am from Spain, people ask me, before I can say a word, which team I support. I always answer the same. Ni Barça ni Madrid, Athletic de Bilbao! And some...

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Oct 15, 2012 SV El Salvador

The Kiva fellowship starts.

With a backpack of 18 kg (half of them are the medicines my mother gave to me), a surfboard that cost me a lot of help and money taking with me, and a box of enthusiasm, doubts and hopes, I head El Salvador, as my father said, one of the most lethal countries in the world. But we always focus on the negative side these countries have. As one film says, lets see the bright side of life.

¿Did you know that El Salvador is considered in several studies as one of the five happiest countries in the world? It is also called as the “40...

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