Nov 20, 2017 KV Kiva HQ
By Catherine Cocke
How a toilet brought together 4 people on 3 continents with a special connection

We traveled a long way for this moment: more than 7,000 miles, 3 flights, including on a propeller plane, and a 5 hour road trip along winding roads and through palm tree jungles.

We took this journey to the Philippines to visit Kiva borrowers and to find 1 special borrower in particular: Lorebel. Finally, we take the short walk through banana trees to her home.

Lorebel lives on one of the more touristy islands in the Philippines, but as she watches our Kiva photographer and me approach, her eyes grow wide. We are the first foreigners she’s ever seen.

Lorebel is special for a lot of reasons (just look at that joyful smile), but what brought us here is that Lorebel helped Kiva cross an incredible milestone. On June 22, 2017, Kiva’s community of lenders hit $1 billion in loans to over 2 million borrowers, crisscrossing the world with connections of care and support.

That moment symbolized so much for Kiva, which started with an unproven idea that strangers would embrace the chance to support each other. Hitting $1 billion solidified that small acts can add up to monumental change, and that billionth dollar went to the hardworking borrower who now stands before us.

To read the full story, visit our Medium page here

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Catherine is a proud Texan who graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BA in Globalization and Development. Prior to working at Kiva, Catherine interned with the non-profits Blood:Water Mission, Yabonga, World Vision, and Kiva itself and worked at Vanderbilt University's Global Education Office. Catherine has spent much time working in developing countries, including five months in South Africa. This experience along with other experiences throughout Africa and Latin America have made her passionately dedicated to international development work. In her spare time, you'll find Catherine hiking, cooking, and trying to find the best coffee shops and Mexican food in San Francisco.

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