Economics students provide financial aid through Kiva


Elizabeth Trevathan

INTERNATIONAL INTERACTIONS. Students from the Economics course chose four individuals from across the world to send a loan to through Kiva.

Elizabeth Trevathan, RubicOnline

When students got the chance to nominate people in need to loan $25 to, they chose to help people pay medical expenses, rebuild their homes, buy their farm materials, and launch a therapeutic children’s center.

History and Social Studies teacher, Nan Dreher, is a longtime lender through Kiva, a microfinancing company based in California. As a part of the Economics course, Dreher assigns students to review potential borrowers and make recommendations based on their public information and goals for their company for four borrowers that she could lend $25 to. This year, classes have chosen borrowers from Albania, Kenya, Cambodia, and the United States.

Senior Esther Allen said, “We talked about economics from the federal standpoint of the U.S. government, and we don’t really look at any other countries. It gives you a different perspective on the world. I thought it was really cool because it’s not something we see or what we talk about, so we kind of got to see [economics] on a different scale.”

It gives you a different perspective on the world.

— Esther Allen

Microfinancing consists of small, low-interest loans for individuals or small companies, who often don’t have access to conventional banking or larger loans. As a charitable nonprofit, Kiva provides financial help to people who hope to escape poverty by starting a business. The company also helps borrowers become financially independent by providing education and aid with practical aspects of their business, such as budgeting.

The process of lending is relatively simple. When someone becomes a lender through Kiva, they choose their borrower. The borrower is the person that the lender is providing financial aid. Then, they make a loan, which can be as small as $25. The lender is repaid based on the borrower’s committed repayment schedule, which begins one month after the loan is dispersed. Kiva has a 96% repayment rate.
Senior Justin Troth said, “I think that it was a really cool opportunity, especially getting to see last year’s. It was kind of more exciting than donating right now just because you can kind of see how the loan progressed and if people ended up paying it off or not.”

After looking into potential borrowers and the reason behind their need for a loan, period seven of the course nominated Laert from Albania, who needed $950 to pay for his mother’s medical expenses, and Ruth from Kenya, who asked for $275 to buy seeds and fertilizer for her farm.

“I think the one I picked was a Filipino woman. She was wanting money to help hire women for her farm, which I thought was really cool because she can feed people, and she’s hiring women and helping them grow. Then some other ones are like, help me rebuild my house because it broke, and it’s hard to say no because you really want someone to have a home to live in, but then this other one has more that they’re doing, even though it’s not making people safer. So it’s hard to pick which things are important,” senior Dante Gilbert said.

Period eight nominated Net from Cambodia, who asked for $1000 to rebuild her house, and Tj from the U.S., who asked for $10,000 to help the launch of their therapeutic children’s center.
Next year’s economics students will see how this year’s selections improved the borrower’s financial standings before making their selections.