Thank you for reading my blog, I’m Kanae, Japanese and Kiva Fellow. Finally I came to Phnon Penh, Cambodia, on Oct. 3rd. The road to here was very long, but I’m very excited to be here again. Yes, I came to Cambodia 9 years ago. At that time, the city looked very dusty and unpaved. Now, there are many pretty restaurants for foreigners and many cars. Therefore, I realized my image of Cambodia is already gone and then I will know current Cambodia in 3months.
Why did I come to Cambodia as KIVA fellow? The reason is I had some experience 9 years ago.
I joined some project with a Janapese NPO (http://www.jhp.or.jp/) and came here at first time. The mission of the project is to build elementary shools in Cambodia. I stayed here for 1 month and met a lot of Cambodian children. They were so cheerful and friendly and I enjoyed to play with them. One day, when we should leave from a school, some children gestured to me ‘Give me your pen!!’ I realized they were get used to be given by foreigners. So I started to wonder donations is really good for them or not. Our goodness really help their lives in the long term? I didn’t have any answer at that time.
A few years later, I got to know Grameen Bank. I was excited about huge possibility of this bank. But there wasn’t any chance to learn microfainance in Japan unfortunately. The only thing I could do is to keep my strong passion about microfainance in my heart. And then, in 2007, one of my friends told me there is a interesting microfinance institution in the USA. This moment dramatically changed my life. I left my venture capital company, flied to San Francisco to have training and came here finally. I believe microfinance accelerates borrowers’ aspiring spirits because borrowers should improve their lives by themselves actively. This point is totaly different from donation.
I’ll learn microfinance and work with a local partner institution for 3 months which has more than 20,000 cliants in all over the Cambodia. Let me report my life here!