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5 Underdogs Who Turned A Small Loan Into Something Huge

Five hard-working borrowers share their amazing stories

Browsing the pages of Kiva’s microlending platform, it’s hard not to find a story or two that moves you to make a loan. With borrowers in 83 countries and lenders in 192, there are countless tales of overcoming adversity, lack of access to opportunity, and inspiring individuals making a dream for themselves with ideas small and large to improve their own livelihoods and well as their communities. The following borrowers are just a few of the many who make their loans work hard for them. To support people like them, visit Kiva.org.

Overcoming Adversity in Times of Conflict


Borrower: Meada
Loan Date: October 31, 2013
Loan Amount: $7,000
Lenders: 212

A wife and mother of four, Meada has beat the odds that some women in Iraq face, where gender inequality and societal and cultural norms often insist women remain dependent on their husbands. She now runs her own business manufacturing and providing prosthetic limbs to those with severe injuries from war-torn areas.

The Ceramics Artist

Borrower: Myrian
Loan Date: June 30, 2009
Loan Amount: $2,600
Lenders: 85

A mother-turned-ceramic maker in Paraguay was able to put her children through college after launching her pottery business with clay and wood materials purchased with the help of a Kiva loan. Since then, Myrian has helped other women in her community fund their business ideas, forming a group who share a workshop and retail space where they sell their goods.

Rebuilding Local Convenience, and a Home

Borrower: Gerilina
Loan Date: February 11, 2014
Loan Amount: $225
Lenders: 9

After the devastating Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in July 2016, Gerilina, who is a married mother of seven children, was living in a temporary structure built with salvaged materials. Her first Kiva loan allowed her to rebuild her home. Since then, she’s restarted her “sari-sari” business or local convenience store.

Turning Trash into Cash in Kenya

Borrower: Wilson
Loan Date: July 30, 2013
Loan Amount: $250
Lenders: 11

In the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, Wilson spent his nights working as a security guard, eventually saving enough money to buy a handcart to start a trash hauling business in the town. While working two jobs, he took out a loan to grow the business and expanded into recycling plastics. He now employs ten young people who all make a living thanks to Kibera’s Trash is Cash business.

A Peace of Mind, One Flush at a Time

Borrower: Jackline
Loan Date: October 29, 2012
Loan Amount: $725
Lenders: 26

Founder of the Jaombi Foundation School in the Mukuru slum of Nairobi, Kenya, Jackline is determined to give other children the same opportunities she was granted by educating them in their communities. As teacher and principal, Jackline teaches many students at the school that now employs seven teachers. After noticing that some female students were dropping out because the school had no restroom facilities, she turned to Kiva to request loans to fund the purchase of two Fresh Life toilets. The students now have a sanitary option for a restroom and the school will soon grow to offer lunch.

Top photo: A smiling group of Kiva borrowers in Mali.

This article is part of our series celebrating 10 years of collaboration between PayPal and Kiva. Help kick off the next decade of impact. Make a loan today at Kiva.org and the first 10,000 lenders through 10/10/16 will receive a $25 Kiva credit, provided by PayPal, to lend again. Terms and conditions apply.

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