In this vast planet of ours, it can be hard to imagine that each and every one of us has our own story to tell. When a photographer named Brandon began taking picture of people throughout New York, and later all around the world, Humans of New York became an international craze. Every post consists of a photograph, a story, and an inevitable reaction from the observer. Reading about a first hand account of what it's like to be a refugee on your way to the US, sharing a funny post that made you smile, or seeing the look on someone's face while you read what their life is like after being accused of a crime they didn't commit all bring humanity to the surface and create the space for deeper connections among us to be recognized. This is what HONY has accomplished. In the spirit of HONY storytelling, our fellows have shared with us a photo and pieces of stories of borrowers they have met along their journeys in the field.
"I want to be able to help others, the way I was helped. I’m paying school fees for my brother and I’m trying to help other children who have difficulty staying in school. Even just buying them pens or books can really help. I volunteer at the local secondary school once a week as well, teaching the younger ones important ‘life skills’ like self-confidence. Myself, I’d like to go back to study one day. I’d love to become a nurse, and help my community." - Mildred, from Zimbabwe (Fellow: Alan Mathers)
"I lost everything I owned during the violence after the elections here in 2007. But I’ve got a great shoe repair business now. I remember on my first day, I repaired 7 pairs of slippers and charged 5 shillings each. Now they come from all around here for their shoe repairs. But you know, the support from Kiva and Hand in Hand has meant so much more than just the financial side of things. The psychological support of the group gave me hope and the energy to keep going. It pushed me to start again and to rebuild my life. If my story encourages others to lend, I’ll be happy." - Kennedy, from Kenya (Fellow: Alan Mathers)
“My dream is to run an organic farm and educate people how important ecological harmony is. I know I have very limited resource, but I will start to take actions and little by little can make a difference.” - Bolin, from China (Fellow: David Tsai)
“I just hope I can provide a better life for my kids. I want them to be educated so they can become doctors and lawyers or something similar. Life here is hard. I just want life to be easier for them and their kids.” - Monicah, from Kenya (Fellow: Fred Jasins)
Deena graduated from the University of San Francisco with a double major in Latin American Studies and Spanish and a Psychology minor in May 2015. After a short volunteer trip to Guatemala in 2013 where she worked with children in a school setting, she began to understand her passion for human rights and social justice. After a few years of crowd-funding and starting a jewelry line to help the school in Guatemala become a more efficient learning and social environment, she began to understand that there is much to learn in the world of humanitarian aid. Her experience in Guatemala as well as her undergraduate studies led her straight to Kiva. She is eager to learn and contribute her creativity, passion and experience in marketing to this empowering organization. In her free time Deena loves reading, hiking, and exploring.