By Claudine Emeott, KF14, Nepal
To sign off from my post as a Kiva Fellow with BPW Patan in Nepal, I thought that I would take a cue from Alexis Ditkowsky, who wrapped up her Fellows Blog contribution by leaving readers with a note that she wrote to lenders who have funneled loans to WDB in South Africa. Below is my own note to BPW Patan lenders, but the gratitude from the Kiva borrower featured below should be enjoyed by all.
Dear BPW Patan lenders,
As I wrap up my three-month Kiva Fellowship with BPW Patan in Nepal, I want to share a few highlights with you and thank you for your support of this great organization.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to volunteer on behalf of Kiva and to learn about the experiences of both BPW staff and borrowers with Kiva. First and foremost, I want to convey how much BPW values Kiva funding. When BPW became a Kiva partner in 2007, Kiva provided crucial funding during a particularly challenging time for the organization. As BPW has continued to grow and flourish during the last four years, Kiva loans continue to supply the organization with important 0% interest funding to do its amazing work with women borrowers in Nepal. BPW staff members proudly talk about how quickly their loans get funded on the www.kiva.org website – as you lenders likely know, within just two or three hours.
As for my interactions with Kiva borrowers, I have been fortunate to take many productive and rewarding trips to the field. For some of these visits, I conducted borrower verifications, and during this process I brought along printed copies of the borrowers’ profiles. When sharing the profiles with the borrowers, I always pointed to the photos and names of their Kiva lenders at the top of the page. Borrowers – and their fellow group members for that matter – invariably studied their profiles intently, particularly focusing on the lenders from around the world who helped make their business dreams a reality.
One of these borrowers, Sarswati Thapa, is pictured in the photo below.
Like 90% of BPW’s borrowers, Sarswati works in agriculture. Here she is chopping down a papaya, one of the crops that she grows on her small family farm adjacent to her home. In addition to papaya, Sarswati also grows green onions, cauliflower, and a plant that provides the foundation for garam masala spice. Farming in Nepal can be challenging, given the long stretches of dry weather and water shortages from October through April. Sarswati mentioned that she had already lost some crops to drought, and the Kiva loan – her first – helped her pay for additional seeds that she would not have been otherwise able to afford this growing season. At the moment, she and her family manage the farm on their own, supplying produce to their local village. But with additional land surrounding her home, she hopes to eventually expand her business and employ people on her farm.
From all of us at BPW Patan, thank you for lending to women in Nepal. With your loans, you not only provide BPW borrowers with the ability to purchase inputs for their businesses, but also empower them to dream about the future.
Claudine Emeott has been honored to work with the women of BPW Patan in Nepal. Although she is wrapping up her fellowship, she looks forward to remaining in close touch with her new friends at BPW Patan because she is staying in Nepal to work in the development sector. Check out the BPW Patan Lending Team and consider making a loan to a woman entrepreneur from Nepal.
Previous posts by Claudine Emeott: