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Going beyond gendered social norms in Nepal

Kiran is going beyond the traditional expectations for women in Nepal. And with the help of Kiva lenders, going beyond her financial limitations too.

Meet Kiran from Kathmandu

Kiran, a college student studying business at the University of Kathmandu in Nepal, is using her Kiva loan to help fund her education. 

But, before she got to where she is today, Kiran found herself in a situation many Nepalese women face: being qualified, deserving, and eager to continue her education, but lacking the financial means to do so. 

In Nepal, gendered social norms limit women’s labor mobility and employment opportunities. In fact, the majority of women working in Nepal do so without a cent of compensation. (World Bank 2020)

Kiran’s mother is part of the minority as a woman entrepreneur; she’s running a quaint local tea shop. The money Kiran’s mother makes is far from enough to finance her daughter’s education, but that’s irrelevant in Kiran’s eyes.

“My mother is my role model,” Kiran says. “She's the one who pushed me to grow. So my dream is to provide her with the resources she needs.”

Kiva-borrower-kiran-and-her-motherKiran and her mother

Funding for a new generation

Kiran knew getting an education would open up opportunities to help her support herself and her family. But loans still weren’t easy to come by and she couldn’t afford to finish college without one.

“In Nepal, there’s only micro-financing for women who are married,” she says. “But, a lot of girls and women are like me: we don't want to get married, but we do want to study more.”

41 Kiva lenders powered a loan for Kiran. And it was exactly what she needed. 

Through Kiva’s Field Partner, Wedu, Kiran received financing to pay the fees for her second year at the University of Kathmandu. 

Wedu’s support went beyond financing. As a Wedu Rising Star, she was able to take her leadership development one step further by being matched with a mentor and making internal connections.

That’s something Kiran says she particularly appreciates as she develops her own leadership skills. “I realized it is not a lack of skills that holds many people back,” she says, “but a lack of opportunity.”

kiva-borrower-kiranKiran, Kiva borrower

Paying it forward

Kiran is going beyond the traditional expectations for women in Nepal. And with the help of Kiva lenders, going beyond her financial limitations, too.

What’s next for Kiran? She plans to open a restaurant and community space that specifically employs women. This way, she will do her part to help others go beyond their financial and cultural expectations. 

Kiran knows great changes can start from small beginnings and lending a hand.

“This kind of money, and these kinds of resources, might seem insignificant to some, but you never know how important the microloan is to people,” she says. "It's so amazing that it can change people and help them out in ways beyond what we can see.”

Kiva-borrower-kiran-and-sisterKiran and her sister

Join the movement for gender equity by equipping more women like Kiran with financial resources to move beyond barriers and improve their livelihoods.

Make a difference


All photos taken by Rajneesh Bhandari

About the author

Ciara Middleton

Ciara is a content creator who joined Kiva in December 2020. At Kiva, Ciara supports creative strategy with both visual and written content creation. She graduated with a B.A. in International Business and Marketing from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. As a first-generation American with parents from Ireland, Ciara has been surrounded by travel for her whole life and is deeply passionate about cross-cultural equity. She has two brothers, three dogs and loves to read, write, and photograph her way through her professional and personal lives.