Don’t see poverty, see potential

Jessica Jackley in Uganda about to have her life changed by changing lives.

Jessica Jackley eventually became the co-founder of Kiva, but before that she was a lovestruck philosophy major who followed her boyfriend across the country to California where she worked a temp job at Stanford.  While there she attended a lecture by Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, which makes microloans to the poor.  She was impressed at how he simply sat down with the poor and asked them what they needed, instead of telling them what they needed. She was inspired to do the same.

She quit her job and spent three months in Uganda interviewing farmers and fishermen.  She saw how small amounts of money could make a big difference — kids could go to school, medicine could be afforded, and sugar could be bought for tea allowing families to invite guests over and improving their social status.

Jessica asked her family and friends to lend money to the people she met. Kiva was born. A few years later Kiva has loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to entrepreneurs around the world.

I had the pleasure of hearing Jessica speak last night on the Ball State campus.

Jessica talked about how we shouldn’t look at the worlds poor with pity: “Don’t see poverty. See potential.”

Kiva’s mission is “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.”

Replace lending with stories and that’s pretty much my mission statement.

I want to give you $25 to lend through Kiva

In honor of Jessica’s visit, I’m giving away four $25 Kiva gift certificates, so you can connect with someone’s story around the world.

Tell me your mission statement in the comments for a chance to win.

(I’ll randomly select a winner from comments here and on Facebook. I’ll announce the winners at the end of the day Wednesday.)





Joan Ledbetter says:

My mission statement is: “To improve students’ chances of success, one day and one action or activity at a time.”

Kelsey says:

Joan, you rock! Part of what makes carrying out my mission so much fun is getting to work with educators such as yourself.

Katka says:

What a wonderful inspiration for us all. My mission statement “Give everyone a chance, and always be kind. One time, someone took a chance on you – be that chance for someone else.”

CathyShouse says:

What a great post, Kelsey! Too bad I missed seeing this on Wednesday. At 5:49 a.m., my mission is a bit fuzzy, except getting two stories written before breakfast. Well, you didn’t say it had to be a long-term mission!

Let your voice be heard!