Jesse Willms: The People I’m Helping Through The Kiva Foundation

Posted by Jesse Willms on September 13, 2011

For more than a year, I have donated money to help the Kiva Foundation let people earn their way out of poverty by providing them with small loans they can use to start or expand small businesses.

By providing financing that banks are unwilling to offer to new entrepreneurs in third-world countries, Kiva helps people break out of poverty and enter the middle class, through hard work and determination.

This week I donated $3,000 to the Kiva Foundation to help an additional seven entrepreneurs. That means I have now used my financial resources to help 46 entrepreneurs get out of poverty. To put a human face on Kiva’s efforts, I want to spend some time today talking about the seven people who will benefit from my latest Kiva loans.

Fanny Mercedes is a 32-year-old mother in Nicaragua who has studied business administration. She recently opened up a small general store from the front of her house in order to help raise her 10-year-old son and provide basic goods and services to the community. She will use her Kiva loan to buy clothes, grains, cosmetics and food that she will sell from her store. Her dream is to make enough profit from these items to buy shelves and display cases for displaying her goods.

Samuel (who asked that his last name not be used) is a 29-year-old man in Kenya who has been operating a small bakery for five years. He will use his loan to buy a new oven so that he can expand his business and provide bread for more people.

Jessica is a budding entrepreneur in Peru. She operates a fish stall, and sells household goods and cosmetics as well. She will use her loan to buy fish and other products that she can sell in her community to help support herself and her six-year-old son.

Darnell, an American, worked at a spa in Florida and learned about skin care products. He did well, but then the spa he worked for was destroyed by a hurricane in 2004. So, he decided to go out on his own. Realizing that most skin care products were made for women, he decided to use his experience to create skin care products for men. He will use his loan to develop and manufacture these products.

Sonia, in the Dominican Republic, sells household products door to door. She will use her loan to buy more products so she can expand her sales range. She lives in an unfinished structure with her husband and four children. She hopes to use the profits from her sales to finish building her home and put a roof over her family’s heads.

Candelaria lives in Colombia with her husband and two-month-old son. She has started selling stationery products from her mother’s home. Because of regional customs, September is the biggest time of the year for stationery stores in Colombia. She will use her loan to stock up on additional stationery supplies in order to meet the peak demand.

Yosia operates a tiny bar in Uganda. While his bar has gained a good reputation in the neighborhood, he has cash flow problems that make it difficult for him to make sure he has beverages on hand at all times. He will use his loan to stock up on beer and soda so that his business can thrive.

These are just seven of the many individuals who are trying to break the shackles of institutionalized poverty, and it’s because of the determination and hard work of these budding entrepreneurs that I choose to support the Kiva Foundation.