Magdalena Malinowska

Fellows Blog Posts by Magdalena Malinowska

Aug 18, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

by Magdalena Malinowska, KF11, Dominican Republic

Well, almost 100 days. A Kiva Fellowship lasts three months so my work with Esperanza International in the Dominican Republic and Haiti has lasted some 90 days. And so has my hands-on experience with micro-finance.

As a PhD student of Hispanic literature (at Boston University), it’s been quite an experience going from reading about the lives of others, like those described by Junot Diaz and Edwidge Danticat, to witnessing them first-hand on this historic island. During my Fellowship I have had the unique opportunity...

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Aug 9, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

by Magdalena Malinowska, KF11, the Dominican Republic

While providing capital to micro entrepreneurs so that they can expand their businesses is the primary goal of micro credit, it is not the only way micro finance institutions (MFIs) help their customers. Many go beyond money and worry about other aspects of their lives, turning into a one-stop community help center, offering a broad range of services.

For Esperanza International in the Dominican Republic the first step is in the word “asociada”. This MFI is an NGO rather than a bank, and so it’s perhaps for that...

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Aug 1, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

by Magdalena Malinowska, KF11 Dominican Republic

It started at 10 am on a Thursday in Monoguayabo, a dusty industrial neighborhood of Santo Domingo. But first I had to get there and that took a long while, but it was worth it because the Madre y Luz Group’s meeting turned out to be unforgettable.

There was nothing out of the ordinary about the series of unthinkably beat up vehicles well beyond their expiration dates still serving as daily transport for hours on end...

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Jul 14, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

By Magdalena Malinowska, KF11 Dominican Republic

It’s about micro-lending there. Is providing credit to small businesses in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere even a possibility? Well, it’s actually a reality, and one that’s old news! The Dominican non-profit MFI, Esperanza Internacional, has been working on helping Haitians break the cycle of poverty since it expanded its operations there in May of 2006.

So, how does micro-lending look like in a country with a failed economy made worse by the January earthquake, where 80% of population is under the...

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Jul 4, 2010 DO Dominican Republic

by Magdalena Malinowska, KF11 Dominican Republic

What shape does the World Cup fever take in the Dominican Republic? No shape or form – is the answer! There is very little (to none) interest in this baseball-dominated country in the events that have been captivating the people of numerous countries all over the globe for the past several weeks.

Although the country holds many cultural and historical ties with the rest of Latin America, the continent which spawned several of all-time czars of world soccer (Pele, Maradona, Ronaldo), baseball is king here. With...

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Jun 8, 2010 HT Haiti

By Magdalena Malinowska, KF11, Dominican Republic

After successfully (read: finally!) completing the first year of a PhD program a few weeks ago, I am pleased to (again: finally!) find myself in the role of a Kiva Fellow. With much joy I exchanged the ice-cold confines of the library for the warm embrace of the Caribbean climate in the birth-place of merengue and several all-star baseball players: the Dominican Republic. And it is with great excitement that I am leaving behind the pages of Junot Diaz’s comical rendition of the Dominican culture and embarking on the...

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