Fellows Blog Posts by Kimia

Jul 23, 2010

By: Kimia Raafat

I had my doubts about microfinance in San Francisco. Having 7 months of work experience at microfinance institutes in Ecuador and Paraguay, the images I associated with South American field visits (see two photos below) included cane homes, wooden kiosks, rural shops and unpaved roads—slightly different from the “techy”, modern Silicon Valley/San Francisco state of mind.

Field Visits in Ecuador

The cliche microfinance story goes as...

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Jul 1, 2010

By Kimia Raafat, KF11, San Francisco Kiva has always been about connections; connecting people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. Now, we would like to bring our “person to person connection” mantra a little closer to you– by presenting our Kiva Speakers Program.

Whether you are hosting an event on poverty alleviation, women’s rights issues, microfinance or incorporating Kiva into your classroom’s curriculum, the Kiva Speaker’s Program gives Kiva friends the opportunity to share ideas with a Kiva representative.

Simply complete a...

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Apr 11, 2010 PY Paraguay

By Kimia Raafat, KF10 Paraguay

College students must pick a major.  They distress over the decision:  economics or accounting? Political science or general studies? Should I double-major? Add a concentration?  And throughout the process, there are many that pick one out of obligation (with no path in mind), they hope for the best, and of course, hope this decision will lead to future professional success.

Microfinance borrowers must pick a career—they risk taking out a loan to invest in their business. They distress over the decision: Despensa(general store...

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Mar 17, 2010 PY Paraguay

By Kimia Raafat, KF10 Paraguay

Although lard has always been a popular alternative to butter, and a readily accessible by-product of pork, I have somehow managed to remain a lard simpleton—until now! Upon approaching the home of one Fundación Paraguaya borrower, Gloria Elizabeth Cabrera de Echeverria, I expected to find a typical despensa (general store) or home tailoring store, instead I was kindly greeted by the lingering scent of rendered pig-fat!

Gloria produces and sells bottles of lard to local bakeries.  The bakeries use the animal oil to cut down their...

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Dec 24, 2009 EC Ecuador

By Kimia Raafat, KF9 Ecuador

With the holiday season upon us and Kiva Gift Certificates flowin like Cristal and Dom Perignon in a Diddy rap video, I figured it would be a good time to review with lenders (both old and new), the process of a Kiva Loan.  Here is a link to the video me and my best friend, Emily Enberg made for the Tongal/Kiva Video Contest…  Happy Holidays!


Kimia Raafat is a Kiva Fellow (KF9) at a new Kiva partner, D-MIRO  in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  If you would like to know more...

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Dec 16, 2009 EC Ecuador

By Kimia Raafat, KF9 Ecuador

Like the galloping horsemen on a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, Kiva’s leafy “loans that change lives” logo has come to symbolize a certain status in the world of microfinance institutions (MFIs).  The Kiva stamp of approval signifies that after careful due diligence, an institution has been deemed dependable and successful in their mission to make a significant social impact.

It was only a few months ago that Fundacion D-MIRO Mision Alianza had been approved to join Kiva’s network of 105 field partners.  D-MIRO’s employees are delighted and...

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Nov 6, 2009 EC Ecuador

By Kimia Raafat, KF9 Ecuador

Last week, I blogged about D-MIRO’s influence in the peri-urban zones of Guayaquil.  There is no way to describe the dedicated D-MIRO staff members and the lengths they go to reach those marginalized from the traditional financial system. So I opted to film a sample day! Here is “My Motorcycle Diary”:


Fun Facts about Ecuador:

  • Ecuador’s currency is the US dollar....
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    Oct 27, 2009 EC Ecuador

    By Kimia Raafat, KF9 Ecuador

    Fortin district of Guayaquil

    The recession has affected most families in one form another.  Personally, I was laid off from my first post-collegiate job and ushered over to the unemployment line.  Post lay-off, I spent a solid week sitting in my pajamas and watching the news.  I rolled my eyes as every other segment was titled “from Wall Street to Main Street”.

    Upon arrival in Guayaquil, I...

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    Sep 27, 2009 EC Ecuador

    By Kimia Raafat, KF9 (Ecuador)

    Last night, I said goodbye to my KF9 classmates and flagged down a cab.   Departing KFP9 graduation dinner, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Am I really ready to be a graduate? to be a Kiva Fellow?!”

    I pushed my uncertainties to the side while greeting and directing my cab driver.  He was a friendly Ethiopian man and obviously curious about what I had been doing with the rowdy crowd in Baghdad Nights.  Maybe he saw all of the ridiculously good looking  people inside (my KF9 classmates and/or Kiva Staff members)? perhaps ...

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