Shelley is a native Californian who graduated from California State University, Chico with a BA in Communications. After college she backpacked through Europe (as one tends to do) and got her first taste of international travel- her eyes had opened. Upon returning to the States, Shelley entered the production and post-production world, working on-set for independent feature films, followed by a gig as a video editor at a small ad agency. An itch to explore the world returned, so she spent a year teaching English in Japan, learning new business practices and etiquette (always use two hands when presenting a business card!). After Japan, she continued traveling through Southeast Asia where she was confronted with true poverty for the first time. It was an experience she never forgot, and it eventually inspired her first Kiva loan in 2010. Most recently Shelley managed digital marketing at IMAX, where she was responsible for the online promotion of both mainstream films and documentaries. The latter afforded her the pleasure of working with a number of non-profit organizations while overseeing the creation of websites and overall digital/social strategies. But it was while watching- not marketing- a few moving documentaries about the empowerment of women in developing countries that inspired Shelley to vacate her office and step into the field. She is thrilled to help open a new branch in India.

Fellows Blog Posts by Shelley Graner

Dec 30, 2013 IN India

BJS is a brand new partner to Kiva, posting their first loan in October of this year, but they have been operating since 2006. BJS believes that providing loans to the underserved is critical, and leads to self-sufficiency, but supplementing with education, health/hygiene training and skill development ensures economic stability. As the organization grows, so do their social services, which they started offering a few years ago. They have arranged everything from eye exam camps and cancer screenings to financial literacy training and jute handicraft sessions for their clients. They even set... Continue Reading >>

Oct 23, 2013 IN India

Indians work hard- typically six days a week, so when the festival season arrives, everyone is ready to don new clothes and celebrate. The Durga Puja festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the mythological demon Mahishasura, and is observed in the autumn months of September/October according to the Hindu solar calendar. It is the most important Bengali festival, and nowhere is it celebrated on a grander scale than in Kolkata.
Pandal display
Most of the city shuts down for the last four days of the festival... Continue Reading >>

Oct 2, 2013 IN India

Tea Stall Along the Ganges River
When I arrived at field partner BJS on the first day of my fellowship, I was warmly greeted by staff, then swiftly escorted into the CEO’s office. The first order of business? Tea. “How would you like your tea, madam? Black or with milk?” “Um, with milk, please. Thank you!” It arrived in a beautiful white china teacup decorated in gold. A special guest cup, to be sure. There I sat with a few staff members as we got to know each other over tea. I felt so proper and...
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