Eight years ago, Kiva was founded in October 2005, and ever since, we’ve considered October to be the organization's birthday. This year, we want to take the opportunity to celebrate the connections our lenders are making with borrowers around the world. So we asked our community one simple question: “What made you connect with a borrower on Kiva?” We received an amazing number of responses filled with truly heartwarming and inspiring stories. 
We’ll be sharing two of these stories every day through Thursday of this week.
One of the things that stuck out to us was the wonderful diversity of your connections to borrowers: whether they had a similar profession or hobby, reminded you of loved ones, or had deep historical ties to a nation or culture.
Whatever the reason for these connections, it’s clear that you're all driven by compassion and kindness to help empower others and break the global cycle of poverty. 
It’s also uplifting for us to see Kiva’s mission of “connecting people through lending to alleviate poverty” at work everyday in the lives of so many people worldwide. These connections, stories, and memories created are invaluable. 
In short, we couldn’t have asked for a better birthday -- thanks so much for celebrating with us!

Without further ado, here are the first two incredible stories of the week:

Kiva lender

My story is simple. My aunt Mary was always an inspiration for me. She was smart, funny and generous. She was never wealthy, but she was always happy to help others who were less fortunate. One of her favorite expressions was "Money is like horse manure. It doesn't do any good unless you spread it around."

When Aunt Mary died several years ago, she left me a small sum of money. In her honor, I loaned half of it through Kiva. Since then, I have recycled (re-loaned) that money several times. I call this "Aunt Mary's Horse Manure Fund." So when I loan money through Kiva, I feel good knowing that I am helping a stranger and honoring my Aunt Mary at the same time!

Kiva lender

Kiva first caught my attention with a powerful video about how women's hands perform 66% of the world's work but bear 70% of the world's poverty. I jumped in whole-heartedly after watching that video and began helping everyone I possibly could and created the Girls Can't WHAT? Lending Team, putting 20% of our sales into Kiva loans.

Each person has a story, but the one that had a big impact on me was Hanin from Palestine. She wasn't asking for much, just a loan to help buy a new stove and refrigerator for her bakery. She had one young child and was working out of her home with her husband. I could totally relate to being a mom and trying to run a business so I knew I needed to help her.

Hanin in front of her new refrigerated bakery case, in her own shop.

While the loan itself made me feel I was doing something good for Hanin, it was the follow up email after the loan that made me see the bigger picture. Hanin had given birth to a second child, but now instead of running the bakery from home, they had established their own store next door. Not only that, but their bakery brings in more income than what they were earning previously. How is that for a win-win for a young mom?

That's when it hit me. My team is not only helping women, we're helping families. We're helping kids grow up seeing mom and dad be successful. We're providing education to women of all ages so they can get themselves and their families out of poverty. We're breaking the chain of poverty, one loan at a time.

And the money I'm using to invest in Kiva loans each month comes from a business that is all about empowering women. Girls Can't WHAT? Oh yes, we can!

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About the author

Amrita Khoshoo

Amrita recently graduated from UC Irvine as a double major in History and Global Cultures. Throughout college, she was incredibly lucky to have volunteered, interned, and studied abroad. She volunteered and interned in India and China over the course of three summers and studied abroad in Spain her junior year. Amrita loves learning about the world, and learning how to help the world is no exception. She is thrilled to be joining an organization that uses innovative and sustainable methods to empower individuals and communities worldwide.