Why I want to join the Kiva Fellows Program

 

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USA Flag

Interviewing local business owners for the Kiva Fellows application was a humbling experience. These folks are some of the most dedicated people I have ever met. Their hardwork make my neighborhood a vibrant place to live. Through these interviews I got a taste of what it would be like to be a Kiva Fellow. Could I make Kiva’s entrepreneurs’ stories come to life like those stories I heard in my hometown?

 

In some sense, I have been preparing to work at the nexus of microfinance and online social networking for a long time. Volunteer credit counseling efforts; professional experience in online marketing; and travel to the developing world – have all prepared me to support Kiva’s mission. I have a diverse set of interests and when I learned about Kiva, I found an organization that provides a common thread. I have remained connected to the community, even while working full-time in the private sector. Teaching financial literacy to teenagers and conducting credit counseling for mostly Latin American immigrants at a credit union on the Lower East Side of New York, I have come to appreciate the benefits and the dangers of credit. I have enjoyed giving low-income clients the tools needed to repair their damaged credit, but I would rather provide people with the knowledge and resources to use credit wisely from the onset. My goal is to turn this passion into a career.

Through my professional experience in online media and marketing communications, I have helped large companies find and capture customers online. I would now like to use those skills to effect positive social change. As a small start, I have added a link to my Kiva Page (http://www.kiva.org/lender/LethalSheethal) to my personal email signature. This subtle outreach has prompted several people in my network to ask about Kiva and to fund their own loan portfolios. With dedicated effort, I could generate much support from my network and the broader community.

Meeting small business owners during my travels to emerging countries has illustrated that diligent people can help themselves with the right tools. The borrowers I would strive to assist could teach me a great deal about entrepreneurship. Being a Kiva Fellow would be a humbling introduction to the real world of international microfinance.   The experience would help me start a new career helping people lift themselves to higher ground while contributing my skills to advance the mission of an amazing organization.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

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