Volunteer Spotlight: 'A small picture into somebody else's existence'

Each borrower has a different story to tell, and Kiva’s Review and Translation Program (RTP) connects each of them with Kiva volunteers in order to communicate their story to the rest of the world. Volunteers at RTP get to practice their editing and translating skills in 1 of 5 languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian) while helping to bring Kiva borrowers a step closer to achieving their dreams.

Today, our RTP volunteers edit and translate about 16,500 loans each month, with a total of about 21.4 million words reviewed and translated per year. This month we get a close-up of the lives of 5 extraordinary volunteers: Leonard, Jimena, Patricia, Lauri and Tricia. They get inspired by the unique loans they find on Kiva and are curious to learn more about each person’s life.

Leonard Delaney
Kiva Volunteer of the Month, August 2015
"The randomness of the loan is interesting. Each time you open a new translation, you open a new page onto a small picture of somebody else’s existence."

City: Duncan, Canada
Language: Spanish
Team: Cambiamos
Time with Kiva: 2 years, 1 month
Outstanding Contributions to Kiva: In the mere 2 years since Leonard first started translating for Kiva, he has already gone above and beyond with his volunteering efforts. He has not only translated over 3,500 loans, but he regularly offers advice and assistance to his fellow volunteer translators on the Volunteer Forum for the Review and Translation Program. He takes great joy in translating, even the lengthier, more difficult loans!

Jimena Lopez
Kiva Volunteer of the Month, September 2015

“When I moved to the US, one of my biggest concerns was losing my Portuguese. It’s doing little things like translating that help keep you sharp – but I always wish I could do more.“

City: Peoria, Illinois
Language: Portuguese, Spanish
Team: Latino Linguists
Time with Kiva: 7 years
Outstanding Contributions to Kiva: In the last 7 years, Jimena has translated over 454 loans, changing the lives of hundreds of people around the world. Her continued modesty, dedication, and attention to detail have made her an exemplary volunteer!

Patricia Muller
Kiva Volunteer of the Month, October 2015

“I wanted to do something to help- some form of volunteering. Why not use my talent of speaking Spanish to do something good for people?”

City: Fair Haven, NJ
Language: Spanish
Team: Los Habaneros
Time with Kiva: 2 years
Outstanding Contributions to Kiva: Patricia has dedicated countless hours to translating for Kiva. Her passion for volunteer work has given over 800 businesses the chance to grow!
Lauri F.
Kiva Volunteer of the Month, November 2015

“It’s really interesting to see what people are getting loans for, to see what their place looks like, and to get some information about them. Some people are still trying to get basics such as water, coal and firewood. It makes you feel very appreciative of what you have”

City: San Francisco, USA
Language: English
Team: Loanly Planet
Time with Kiva: 3 years, 6 months
Outstanding Contributions to Kiva: Lauri is always open and willing to help others find a solution. With a personal goal of editing 10 loans a day, she has completed over 9,300 loans! Her incredible commitment to volunteering has provided thousands of businesses around the world the opportunity to flourish and grow.
Tricia Perry
Kiva Volunteer of the Month, December 2015

“Loan profiles help me put life into perspective. If I have a bad day, I remember how much I have compared to others in the world”

City: New York, USA
Language: Spanish
Team: Mil Puentes
Time with Kiva: 3 years
Outstanding Contributions to Kiva: Tricia is always trying to get people involved with Kiva’s mission. Tricia has translated 735 loans while getting to know others from the Kiva community!
Want to be part of this amazing community of translators? Join us here.

About the author

Deena Tailo

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.