Under the umbrella of the Amnesty International Club, Dublin School has maintained a micro-lending account with kiva.org. Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva allows lenders to make loans to people in developing countries to start or grow a business, go to school, access clean energy or realize their potential. 100% of every dollar lent on Kiva goes to funding loans. The structure of the program acts as a revolving loan fund, with repayments being available to make additional loans over time. Kiva covers its costs primarily through optional donations, as well as through support from grants and sponsors.
Over the last several years, Dublin students have managed this lending account. Liam Kelly (Sandy Hook, CT) has been the managing the account this year after working with others for the last several years. He estimates that he has been involved in some 20 loans over the last several years. Altogether, Dublin has made 81 loans (which is in the top 97th percentile of lenders on Kiva) over time to borrowers mainly in Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Of those loans, 57 have been fully repaid and only a small total of $7.64 has been lost between defaults and currency losses. Lending has been heavily concentrated in agriculture and food services and small retail and services.
Some examples of recent loans made by Dublin School are:
Ibrahim/Lebanon/Cafe Ibrahim is a 20-year-old single Palestinian refugee who left school at early age and got employed in an auto repair shop to cover his needs and expenses. He is a hard worker and ambitious man. He used his loan to open his own coffee shop and buy the necessary materials. He hopes to succeed in this new business to increase his income and improve his living conditions.
Ourokaal Group/ Senegal / Bakery This group is part of a banc villageois that was founded in December 2011. The group is comprised of seven women who run businesses. Ms. Marie Joseph is the group representative. She is widowed, 57 years old and the mother of two girls. She works in baking as her primary business and also does some poultry farming. She has good experience in this field of business, having worked in it for over 15 years. The requested loan will allow her to strengthen her business.
Kisukulu Group/ Dar es Salaam, Tanzania / Food Stall Mwanahamisi, who is in her early forties, is single with two kids, one still in school and the other one grown. She has been a food vendor for four years now. She works from 5:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily and is able to make a good monthly profit. She will use this loan to start cooking the best-selling food using ingredients like rice, beans, meat, flour meal and bananas. She dreams of owning a hotel.
Tobias' Group/Teso, Kenya / Farming Tobias has six children and is always described as a very hardworking individual, which is why he was selected to become the group leader of his group. Tobias is representing his group of 11 farmers in Teso District Tobias has been a farmer for 11 years and his loan will not only include hybrid seeds and fertilizer but also a solar light, which he is very happy to be getting as that means he will now have light during the dark hours for his children to be able to study. With the profits from this coming season, Tobias is planning to send his children to school.
Liam says that he likes to lend to female entrepreneurs as they have a better track record of repayment, although he doesn’t see repayment as the primary reason for doing this. Ultimately, he feels that he is making a difference in the lives of people that need help. When asked why it is important, he says simply, “people matter”.