Biba, her class, and all of us at Kiva were blown away by the response to Biba's story of perseverance and spirit during a difficult battle with brain cancer. Nearly 3,700 lenders made a loan in Biba’s honor, raising $153,000 in loans for people around the world. Simply incredible.
Below is a thank you letter to lenders from Biba, who also shares the story of her inspirational students:
Several years ago, a few of my high schools students and I were sitting around after school discussing our desire to start a club that would utilize concepts we were learning in Economics including globalization, sustainable development, gender equality and community service. As we were brainstorming ideas, I remembered this wonderful organization named Kiva, based out of San Francisco that utilized crowdfunding as a means of sourcing microfinance loans all over the world. We had already studied microfinance and as we spoke further about the possibilities of opening our own Kiva Club the excitement became quite palatable.
We were the first high school Kiva Club chartered in the state of Tennessee and with about 150 students actively involved each year we have made over 147 loans to 72 different countries in less than 3 years. More importantly, we have expanded our club to include collaborations with high schools all over the world, traveled to meet microfinance clients, attended some incredible global conferences, created a socially active website, produced video documentaries, and are in the process of finishing a book written by the students that is now being considered by a publisher in English and Arabic. Along the way, we learned about life—humility, empathy, kindness, generosity and self-sacrifice (as we are a high poverty Title I school).
This past week, my students and I learned another important lesson— about the gift of love! The overwhelming love and generosity that is pouring into the funding of the Kiva campaign for “We Love Biba” has brought tears to many of our eyes (especially mine). We never did any of our work for a return but for a chance to make a difference in the world—for us to begin our journey of a thousand of miles. The fact that you are willing to join us on this journey is incredible and we can never thank you enough. All the loans that are being funded through this endeavor will make such a difference in the lives of so many for generations to come. What a great gift you have given to me, my students, and to the world!
Thank you, generous Kiva lenders, for helping us honor Biba and courageous teachers everywhere.
About the author
Talea is excited to combine her love for powerful storytelling and her digital strategy experience. She comes to Kiva from the Kaiser Family Foundation, where she managed digital strategy for the foundation's consumer-focused PSA campaigns. Prior to that she was a reporter and producer at the PBS NewsHour for five years. At the NewsHour she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the developing world as part of the program's global health unit, covering a wide range of stories including the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, doctor shortages in Tanzania and the mistreatment of the mentally ill in Indonesia. In addition to being a news junkie, Talea enjoys photography, hiking and attempting to paint. She graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Journalism and is originally from Maryland. So she also knows a lot about horses.