Dear friends, family and interweb followers,
I am applying to a most incredible fellows program with Kiva. As part of my application, I was asked to share my motivation statement on my wordpress blog. Happy reading and many thanks for your continued love and support. Onward!
I believe in human potential. It is unacceptable that some might not realize their own because of oppression or a lack of opportunity. I cannot tolerate such fundamental injustices and, thus, want to work with Kiva toward sustainable, people-driven solutions that will create opportunity and alleviate poverty.
While I have seen extreme poverty firsthand in the developing work, I have also witnessed an entrepreneurial spirit there—a spirit I admire and share. On a research trip in South Africa I heard countless stories of small businesses funded by foreign investors. Families were able to maintain and grow enterprises and shops that would have otherwise been shut down. Beyond a dollar amount, I saw that micro-lending upholds human dignity by encouraging self-sufficiency and financial independence.
Volunteering at a school in Swaziland, I met a girl who would not be able to continue her education because fees increased. I worked to create a collective grant for her to finish her schooling. She ended up at the top of her class. This experience in person-to-person lending was one of thousands of successes that would not have been possible through conventional bank loans, yet it was such a simple solution. I am drawn to Kiva’s model because it connects individuals and enables a person to provide economic opportunity the system cannot.
Beyond a financial solution, microfinance fosters social development. I have always been passionate about gender equality and eliminating gender-based violence. Microfinance is a very tangible way to empower women and, in turn, effect social change. Financial services enable women to transform their family and play a more visible role in their community. I want invest myself in empowerment on the ground and with the people, especially women.
My experiences forming business relationships in China and traveling in the developing world will directly translate to my time with Kiva. While working on a music project in China, I regularly sought out, met with and assessed potential investors, then provided recommendations on them to my superiors back in the states. I also spearheaded forming our Shanghai team and was responsible for training new employees.
I thrive in relationship building and possess a diverse skillset that will enable me to quickly and comfortably navigate a foreign culture and assess Kiva’s work and impact. I am able to integrate into a community, assess needs and develop solutions. Working with Kiva will cultivate problem-solving skills and provide microfinance experience while building on my prior endeavors and preparing me for continued work in development. Above all, I want to work as a fellow to ensure transparency, cultivate relationships that further Kiva’s mission and tell the stories of the lives impacted by peer-to-peer lending.