Featured Volunteer: Renata Wolff uses her love of languages to help people get loans

“I love to learn about the borrowers and read their stories. It's heartwarming to think Kiva is making an actual difference in their lives.” -- Renata Wolff

City: Porto Alegre, Brazil
Language: Portuguese, Spanish
Team: Latino Linguists
Time with Kiva: Two years

Outstanding contributions to Kiva:
During the two years that Renata has worked with Kiva, she has translated and reviewed over 900 loans. She is dedicated and consistent, translating approximately five loans per week!

Here’s a short Q&A with this outstanding volunteer:

How did you find out about Kiva?
I read a brief interview with one of Kiva's founders in a magazine. She explained a little about microlending and how Kiva works, and I thought it was such an inspiring and effective way to make a difference in the fight against poverty. I checked out the site, read the borrowers' stories and joined as a lender. It was such a thrill to make my first loan. Then later on I learned that there were openings for volunteer translators at Kiva, and I applied almost instantly.

Why did you choose to volunteer your time with Kiva?
I truly believe in what Kiva does and what it represents. Also, I've always loved languages, writing and translating, so volunteering as a translator for Kiva seemed like the perfect opportunity to put those skills to good use and hopefully help people. In addition, I love to learn about the borrowers and read their stories, and it's heartwarming to think Kiva is making an actual difference in their lives. Plus, even though I live far away and haven't actually met anyone in person, I receive amazing support and encouragement from my team leader, my fellow volunteers and everyone at Kiva -- it really feels like I'm part of the team!

What is your favorite partner or region?
Since I mostly translate Portuguese loans, Mozambique comes to mind. I also like the partners that describe the borrowers' lives and businesses in a more tailored fashion instead of using templates all the time. It's so nice when you read a description that tells a story, one that makes you feel like you got a real sense of who the individual borrower is -- his or her personality, daily life, struggles and dreams. I believe Fundación Campo is one of the partners that tends to be specific when describing the borrowers.

Tell us about a memorable profile you have reviewed.
I also remember a young man from Mozambique who was borrowing money for personal housing expenses. He was a painter and the description stated that his dream in life was to become an internationally known and respected artist. To this day, I remember him and hope he achieves his dream. Additionally, I enjoy loans for education costs, and I pay special attention to borrowers who are single parents or school teachers -- my mom is a retired high school teacher and I know how important their work is and yet how underappreciated and underpaid it can be, especially in developing countries.

Where is your favorite place in the world to travel?
My favorite place in the world to travel, so far, would have to be Buenos Aires, Argentina. My first trip to Buenos Aires was in 2009 and it was love at first sight. The culture, the history, the architecture, the cafés and museums, the theaters and the tango... I love it so much, I keep going back whenever I can.

Tell us an unusual or surprising fact about yourself.
I'm a bohemian trapped in a bureaucrat's body. Seriously. I'm a law school graduate and a civil servant, but all I really want to do is throw caution to the wind, quit my job, sell everything I own and move to Paris in order to drink, starve and write novels for the remainder of my life. I'm actually trying to get my first novel published, so it remains to be seen whether the Hemingway thing will happen or not.

Interested in volunteering for Kiva’s Review and Translation Program? Read more about the program and check out our current opportunities here.

About the author

Jessica Beltman

Jessica Beltman is an anthropology graduate student at San Francisco State University. Her undergraduate degree was in Visual Communications at the University of South Carolina with an emphasis on photojournalism.  For her master’s thesis, she planned and implemented an applied research project among the Maasai people of Tanzania to understand problems facing Maasai women and facilitate communication between different Maasai groups across Sub-Saharan Africa.  While there, she gained a better understanding of the effects of poverty on the individual family and would like to continue to contribute to poverty alleviation.  Therefore, she is very excited to begin working at Kiva.  In her free time, Jessica enjoys traveling, learning about different cultures, reading, and photography.