Why I support Kiva

For some, graduating from community college might not be a big deal but for me it was equal to reaching the moon and having a walk around. I achieved this goal through 30 years, six colleges, seven states, two countries, one abusive marriage, and two chronically ill children. While I might congratulate myself on the hard work and determination that went into earning those degrees the fact is that, I did not accomplish this feat on my own. I owe a huge debt of thanks to the support and encouragement from those around me: my children, my professors, my college’s staff, and my Phi Theta Kappa teammates, just for a start. Because others believed in me when I was unsure of myself and offered me their support, I was able to reach my goal of graduation. Therefore, when I recently had the opportunity to provide a microloan through Kiva, I was thrilled to play a part in supporting others who were working toward their own dreams.

Kiva is a non-profit organization that takes crowdfunding to a completely new level. Lenders can search for borrowers in a particular country or choose one based upon a specific category such as gender, education, health, social enterprises, or single parents. Once a country or category is selected the lender can read the individual stories of borrowers and then pick one to support. The borrower might be a single mother in El Salvador who makes clothing to sell and is in need of a loan to buy more supplies or a school in Uganda in need of a water filtration system. What happens at this point is what makes a Kiva loan different from a donation: as Kiva borrowers receive their loans and succeed in their goals, they repay those loans back. The lender is notified when he or she receives a repayment on the loan so it is possible to follow along as the borrower succeeds in his or her endeavor, and with every loan repayment, it is possible for the lender to support another person or cause.

Why do I support Kiva? Because I know from my own experience that life is better with support and encouragement, that it is easier to wake up every morning knowing that there are others out there who care and are willing to invest in another’s success. By investing in Kiva, I am investing in the kind of world I want to live in.

Elizabeth Tabak headshotLiz is 48 and a non-traditional student at the University of Central Oklahoma majoring in Humanities with minors in English and Sociology. She currently serves as Immediate Past President of the Alpha Eta Alpha chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and is a member of the Hispanic Student Association. She works in community college disability services, serves as a volunteer community ESL tutor and is a proud mom of Christian and Kat who are pursuing their own college dreams.