Apr 15, 2015 TJ Tajikistan

“Start-ups” is currently a big buzz word all across the developed world – from San Francisco to Istanbul to Singapore, aspiring entrepreneurs are having a go at starting their next company hoping to make it big one day. Here in Tajikistan, there is also a wave of start-ups being created, driven by women who dream of creating a better life for their families.   In a small district outside the city of Khujand in Northern Tajikistan, I had the chance to meet with a very different kind of start-up business. The CEO/CTO/CFO of this one-man start-up is Mukaramjon, who is also a widowed mother... Continue Reading >>

Apr 14, 2015 PE Peru

Julia in her bakery
Meet Julia - a 46 year old woman with 4 children who lives in the Cupiche province of Peru. Growing up, she always loved eating her mother's cakes and helping her bake. When Julia worked as a domestic mother in the past, she started to practice her mother's craft by baking and reading cookbooks. As her passion for baking grew, she decided to study Bakery at a local institute, where she mastered her skills. Since 2010, her bakery, "Señor de... Continue Reading >>

Apr 12, 2015 UG Uganda

In order to visit Collins and his hardware supply business, we had to travel one of Uganda’s famously poor roads, suitable for travel only by SUV.  Most don’t have that luxury and neither did we.  The dirt road stretched for twenty never ending kilometers of potholes, trenches and dust clouds that left silt on our shirts though the car’s open window in the searing heat.   Collin’s loan officer, Faith, had warned me it would be a journey, and as we...

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Apr 7, 2015 CR Costa Rica

Daysi dreams of having her own restaurant. She pictures a comfortable place for families to come, enjoy, and eat. One day, she hopes to make her restaurant her sole source of income. 
Frying Plantain Chips
Daysi lives in an area where the paved streets are now rock, where many of the cement houses are now scrap metal, and where the garbage trucks seem to ignore the community. But within this neighborhood is Daysi’s house with an attached restaurant. On the way to visit Daysi, the loan officer and I got lost and... Continue Reading >>

Mar 31, 2015 US United States

I enter the room and I’m quickly greeted by, “Hi! My name is Luna. What’s your’s?” I’ve just had the good fortune of meeting the four-year old Head of Marketing of 8 Bit Bakeshop, the video game and comic book inspired bakery. Luna is with her mother, Hannah, founder and head pastry chef of 8 Bit Bakeshop. At Cosplay events, Luna is known for attracting people to the 8 Bit booth by shouting at cosplayers “Come try my mommy’s cookies!”. Not interested in baked goods today? That’s OK. Luna will make sure you go home with an 8 Bit Bakeshop business card and check out the website for future... Continue Reading >>

Mar 31, 2015 PE Peru

It was a beautiful Thursday morning in Lima, Peru; 85 degrees and sunny.  My commute to work was on a bus built for 40 people, but it was overflowing with people at almost triple it’s capacity.  After previous trips, I have grown accustomed to feeling like the proverbial  "sardine in a can" on my daily commute.  Despite the steamy bus conditions, I arrived at my destination, SENATI, which is a technical institute in the northern area of Lima called Independencia.  There are around 12 SENATI campuses in Lima, but the Independencia location is one of the largest...
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Mar 31, 2015 UG Uganda

When I use the word “microfinance,” or talk about Kiva, people tend to picture entrepreneurs in far off destinations, using small loans to invest in their businesses.  And while it may be true that cash lent for seeds, goats or rickshaw repairs in less developed countries is the essence of microloans, there’s more.  Dollars lent drive social and environmental change, too.
Dorothy, a microloan recipient, is a seamstress in Uganda. She specializes in making school uniforms for the community.
For starters,... Continue Reading >>

Mar 26, 2015 TZ Tanzania

This week I had the opportunity to travel to Musoma, a small town on Lake Victoria in Northern Tanzania, to visit a branch office of Tujijenge, one of Kiva’s Field Partners. I quickly fell in love with the laid-back people and atmosphere – a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of Dar es Salaam. Maybe it’s the perfect weather or the fresh local food, but the people in Musoma are always smiling. And Bertha, a Kiva borrower, is no exception. Bertha’s loan group, Vumilia, was having their monthly meeting to collect repayments, and I was lucky enough to join them. As I greeted Bertha, her... Continue Reading >>

Mar 24, 2015 CR Costa Rica

Every second Sunday in March, el Día de Boyero (Day of the Oxcart Driver) is celebrated in San Antonio de Escazú, Costa Rica. It’s a day when the townspeople flood into the streets to honor Costa Rican’s history of using oxcarts to transport crops throughout the country. 
San Antonio de Escazú, Costa Rica
Booths are set up to sell delicious local food and arts and crafts. The main attraction is the parade. It starts with music and young dancers, followed by the boyeros. About 100 boyeros... Continue Reading >>

Mar 23, 2015 MM Myanmar

There was no dozing off on the way to Dedaye.  As the taxi sped mercilessly down the bumpy road dodging bikes, motorcycles, ox-drawn carts, and the occasional village parade, I thought to myself,  “Are we supposed to be going this fast?”  The thrilling taxi ride was not the only mode of transportation needed that day.  We also had to travel by motorcycle and boat to reach each village.  This was the first of many borrower verification trips with Kiva’s Myanmar partner, Proximity Designs.  First up was Hmaw Bi Village in Dedaye.... Continue Reading >>