As Christine cut through a Jackfruit from a tree outside her mother’s home, I couldn’t help thinking about spare parts. I had just interviewed Christine following the completion of her Kiva loan to expand her automotive spare parts store in Uganda, and something about the concept of spare parts kept firing away in the back of my mind. As she showed me how to eat the enormous fruit, by cutting away smaller pieces and pulling out the seeds, I realized spare parts are the fuel that makes Kiva run. Kiva allows people from all over the world to utilize their spare parts to profoundly impact someone else’s life.
Large numbers of people taking the initiative to spare relatively smalls sums of money for a period of time is what makes stories like Christine’s possible. The loan helped her expand her business with the increased profits going towards the completion of her education. Degree in hand, she then added a new stream of income by becoming a teacher. When I asked her what her goals were for the future she said she wanted to continue her education so that she could become a very important person. Her drive was both inspiring and impressive and thanks to the collective efforts of spare parts from around the world it’s that much more real. Have $25 to spare? You might just change someone’s life. For more borrowers like Christine visit Kiva.org and search for BRAC Uganda.
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Usually the first (and only) to laugh at his own jokes, Matt values the power of humor and extroversion in connecting with people. He became interested in microfinance following a year in Malawi where he saw the ability for small business investments to have far reaching, positive effects and is excited to join this cause as a Kiva Fellow in Uganda. A Texas native, Matt’s first international experience came when he lived in Mexico City during elementary school. He graduated from NYU with a Psychology degree and Pre-Business minor before joining PepsiCo where he held roles in finance, strategy, and marketing. Looking to live abroad and work on a cause he was passionate about, Matt took a yearlong sabbatical to volunteer with Grassroot Soccer in Malawi where he helped implement HIV educational programs and community HIV testing events. He then co-founded Teen Support Line, a free phone counseling service for adolescents living with HIV in Malawi. Matt loves to travel and engage with new cultures and has spent time in Spain, Latin America, and southern Africa. Outside of work, he enjoys writing, soccer, and incessant movie/television quoting.