Homebound by illness, this Kiva team founder built a community helping women from her couch

Janice, has a passion for service and getting others jazzed about doing good. As the captain and founder of the Kiva lending team Together for Women, she successfully invited more than 100 friends and family to lend with her on Kiva and has helped grow the team to more than 1,700 members. 

Their focus? Empowering women through education, business and home improvement loans. 

“By focusing on girls and women, the Together for Women team can aid in spurring economic progress, expanding markets, and improving health and education outcomes for the entire community,” Janice says. 

Janice, who lives in Minnesota, is homebound by a chronic illness called POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and originally joined Kiva as a way to continue to actively help others despite her condition. She discovered a community of like-minded people and found support through her Kiva team.

Like all lending teams, Together for Women members choose their own loans to support but count them toward the team’s impact. In just a few years, this team has collectively funded more than $7.3 million to 43,000 loans!

“I am so humbled by the generosity of my teammates and honored to lead such a fantastic group of people whose love and kindness toward others are boundless,” Janice said. “At this point, I can't imagine doing life without the team!”

Janice also brought on board a co-captain, Joyce, who loves seeing the loans her teammates share on their message board to help rally support for those borrowers. The team’s purpose inspires her as well.

“I have a daughter in America, and really see that she can do anything she wants,” said Joyce. “In other countries, a lot of times they have to pay for schooling for their kids, or struggle to get access to land to farm.” 

Helping women to overcome barriers is something Joyce and many other Together for Women members feel called to incorporate into their monthly budgets and busy schedules. 

“I don’t have too much time but anyone can do it, you always get connection out of it and feel like you’re going toward a common goal. That’s the beauty of teams,” said Joyce.

When asked who should join Together for Women, both captains stressed that anyone who is interested in engaging with others to work toward a common goal is welcome, and although the name is Together for Women, the team is actually made up of lenders of all genders. 

They also summed up 3 reasons to join any team like Together for Women: 

-A feeling of community and friendship 
-Extra support for the loans you choose
-Increased impact (there’s strength in numbers!)

Virtual friendships are forged through message board discussions and team campaigns that rally members around shared goals. Members also have chances to earn free $25 loans for helping Women United grow by inviting others to join. 

Interested in getting more involved? Join Together for Women or another Kiva lending team today!

About the author

Taylor Whitfield

After a service trip to Ethiopia at the age of 17, Taylor has had a heart for creating international community and finding solutions to poverty. A Bay Area native and graduate of UC Santa Cruz, Taylor spent three years in public health, promoting vaccine usage in Accra, Ghana, as well as at home with the San Francisco Department of Public Health. She found that many problems with inadequate access to healthcare could be solved through economic empowerment, and jumped at the chance to serve as a Kiva Fellow, first in Washington, D.C. and then in Nairobi, Kenya. After connecting with Kiva’s tremendous impact in the field, Taylor is thrilled to be able to support the community that makes it all possible: Kiva lenders. In her spare time, Taylor teaches swim lessons to kids and tries to be near a body of water as much as possible.