Why I Support Kiva

Philippine pesos

When I was about eleven or twelve, my godfather gifted me with two hundred pesos, a princely sum for me at the time. My sister, six years older, convinced me to invest in some piglets. She knew someone who knew someone who knew someone.

Wait a year or two, she implored, and I’d receive quadruple my original investment. “Are you sure?” I asked. Giving me her usual withering look that said, “Don’t be ridiculous,” I reluctantly handed over the money. Several years later, when I remembered to ask about the piglet, she replied flatly, “The pig farmer disappeared.” That was the end of that.

Even so, I was lucky

To be sure, my interest was in making money, but I also liked the idea of helping other people. I was born in the Philippines, a poor country where many live in squalor. Filipinos have to contend with annual monsoons and destructive typhoons. Millions struggle to put food on the table.
I was one of the lucky ones, not by North American standards, but I didn’t live in a hut, and we had running water. At 15, I felt like I won the lottery when I immigrated to join my family in Toronto.

About Kiva

Kiva is a non-profit organization that connects lenders with borrowers to alleviate poverty. Using the internet and a global network of microfinance institutions, Kiva enables people to lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.

Fermin, a hog farmer in Bolivia.
Here is a typical Kiva entrepreneur. Fermín, 40, lives with his wife, Felicidad, in Tarija, Bolivia.
His primary activities are raising and selling pigs and cattle. He also grows yellow feed corn,
sells some of it, and uses the rest to feed his pigs. Fermín has three children who are in school.
He works hard to cover their education and other expenses. He is asking for a loan
to plant corn for pig feed so he can continue to support his family.

The first time I learned about Kiva was around 2006 when I worked as a graphic designer for Synergy Creative in Chicago. Each year during Thanksgiving, my boss, Jessica, came up with innovative ways to share the spirit of gratitude with clients. That year, Synergy was passing on its success to others by donating to Kiva.org.

She asked me to design the brochure to send to our clients, and I was thrilled to work on the project.

Inside the front cover she wrote, "You've inspired us to contribute to Kiva, a non-profit organization that enables socially minded people the opportunity to lend funds for the sake of alleviating poverty. Through Kiva, we're empowering these featured entrepreneurs worldwide who are leveraging their good ideas to rise from impoverished conditions."

Kiva brochure cover
Kiva brochure inside 2

Paying it forward

I enjoyed working at Synergy and was grateful for the opportunity to work on significant projects like this one. After I left in 2009, I started my personal support of Kiva. You can see my lender page here.

Beginning with a loan to Mrs. Sophea in Cambodia that allowed her to buy more vegetables to resell, I quickly followed with other small loans to clothing business owners, general stores, a pig farmer (of course!), and a fish seller in Senegal, Ecuador, and the Philippines.

When I first set up my account with Kiva, I said that I loan because I believe we are our brother’s keeper, and empowering others creates greater abundance for everyone in the world. This still holds true for me today.

So far, all my loans have been repaid 100%, and these funds are now back in the hands of a few more small business owners. Even if the loans are not fully repaid, I still applaud other people’s entrepreneurial and creative efforts to make a better life for themselves.

With Kiva’s help, I’m able to share the good fortune that’s mine simply because I live in an affluent country. I’m not rich, but compared to many in this world, I live in comfort. I’m able to imbibe in things that please me and feed my soul, including painting. Such luxury. For that alone, I am grateful. For more information about Kiva, click here.



Ten percent of profits from primary sales of my NFTS will help the fishing trade on Kiva. 
To learn more about my NFTs, click here.