Week in Review: Here's to an inspirational June!

The month of June evokes many things -- summer, graduations, beaches.

But this June evokes much more.

June is one especially inspirational Kiva Zip borrower who has experienced more than her fair share of hardships in her life.

The twelfth of 17 children, she was born to poor, uneducated parents who couldn't provide basic love and affection for each other and their own children.

June never really knew her father, and when she was just 13, her mother disappeared with five of her younger siblings, leaving the others to fend for themselves.

Six of her 16 siblings tragically passed away at very young ages -- one from neglect, one from AIDS, one murdered in prison, one from alcohol. The tragedy is incomprehensible.

On top of all this, she often went days without food and was constantly bullied at school. It is safe to say that all June knew was pain for a long stretch of her life.

But that didn’t stop her from achieving her dreams. She attended college at age 30, and after 16 years of school, she obtained an Associate’s Degree (oh, and she graduated with double honors and made the Dean’s List). In 2011, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.

While she appreciates being freed from the pain of her past, she is still thankful for her experiences as they made her the strong woman that she is today.

Today, June is a motivational speaker, poet, author, and counselor -- and an incredible one at that. She can write for any person, for any occasion and make it rhyme with relevance. Not many people can say that!

She just turned her talent for the spoken word into a business with the help of Kiva Zip. With a loan of $500, she plans to create books, CDs, and greeting cards with some of her already written materials to sell at speaking engagements.

Recently, she spoke at the Omidyar Network’s Executive Forum where she shared her story of renewed hopes and dreams with the help of Kiva.

She even created one of her poetic masterpieces for Kiva entitled “Invisible Wings,” which she performed at the forum.

Watch June speak about her life story and perform, “Invisible Wings.”

About the author

Emily Wakefield

A native of southern California, Emily is a recent graduate from Santa Clara University where she studied Economics and Spanish Studies. The highlight of her college experience was the semester she spent abroad in Granada, Spain. She knew she wanted to pursue a career in economic development after reading Half the Sky. Emily will be joining the Marketing and Communications team as a Blog and Social Media Intern and is especially excited to find new and creative ways to spread Kiva’s work to more people. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to country music, and re-watching Friends episodes for the millionth time.