Holliston High School seniors Sarah Stebbins and Reilly Conroy have recently created a new club centered around helping people living in poverty who wish to take the initiative and better their lives through business.
Kiva is an organization that uses money that is raised by individual people, as well as groups to give loans to others in third world countries. The website (kiva.org) allows lenders to browse profiles of borrowers from around the world, adding a personal touch to the process. Lenders can view exactly who they will be loaning money to and for what purpose.
“The first person I donated to was named Daisy… she wanted to buy cloth for a sari sari shop,” Stebbins said. She then opened the website on her cell phone to show Daisy’s profile and how Daisy had repaid her debt.
The program has a 98% success rate, with the majority of borrowers able to repay their debts from money made through their business. Once the money has been repaid, it is added back into the lenders account, and then they can then re-loan that money to another person in need.
At Holliston High School, the main focus of the group is raising funds, and spreading awareness of the effects of poverty, as well as to show what can be done to help these people. “As a club, we’re mostly focusing on the fundraising aspect,” Conroy said.
The two then explained the different fundraisers they are planning to start. “We would like to have a powder puff football game,” Stebbins said, “although the administration is being kind of difficult.” The two are currently working to find a way to use the football field at HHS.
The club also has other fundraisers in the works such as a clothing drive, making t-shirts, and having a donation competition between classes in the school. While on the website one can donate to both men and women, the club is focusing on the women. By focusing on the struggles of these women, they hope to empower women around the world, and give insight into what can be done to help those in poverty.
The Kiva U club meets on Wednesdays. For more information about meetings and the club, contact the main office, or Sarah Stebbins.