Women's Club of Fullerton Host Kiva Co-Founder
L-R Linda Holman, Norma Ames, Carolyn Gialamas, Kris Hannah: President Women's Club of Fullerton, Jesica Jackley: Co-founder Kiva.org, Harmeet K Channa, Melody McFadden, Debbie Adams, Charlotte Walker
What does Jessica Jackley, Co-founder of Kiva.org and Women's Club of Fullerton has in common? Desire to help people in need! They serve under the umbrella of compassion. In case if any one of you were wondering what Kiva.org is all about; "Kiva.org, is an online community that helps individuals loan small amounts of money, called microloans, to entrepreneurs throughout the world."
If you don't know what Women's Club of Fullerton is all about, their mission: "The Women's Club of Fullerton is dedicated to uniting women of all ages for community service, supporting charitable organizations, fostering friendship and empowering women."
How Kiva.org came to life
Needless to say when Fullerton Women's Club invited Jessica to come and speak and do a book signing, she accepted the offer graciously and whole heartedly. Jessica explained the exciting and scary beginnings an entrepreneur go through at the early stages of starting a business. The stress, the anxiety, over worked, constantly thinking that you lack resources etc. Then when they hit a mark of $500,000 at the end of the first year and within few days went into millions she said they realized the value of their product that they are providing. A service, and financial freedom for people to be independent and come out of poverty. Even the Nobel Prize Winner, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, of Grammin Bank and Micro Loans founder, was referring people to Kiva. She said it was an amazing journey.
Not only they help people to be self-sustained but they were connecting people from all over the world. It was an overwhelming feeling of joy said Jessica. Jessica, I bet it was not only overwhelming but a very satisfied feeling that you were part of something created to help people to be self-reliant and help sustainable growth in rural areas of the third world countries. Kiva also give an opportunity for anyone who like to be a part of this journey to be an investor. Anyone can invest very little and be an Investor with Kiva. org. Alleviate poverty and empowering people is the best we can do as a society. That's exactly the kind of product Kiva.org has created.
Jessica was inspired to help when she was 6 through her Sunday School Class. She and the rest of the class was told that Jesus need help from them to help the poor people; to cloth them, to feed them... She thought it was pretty powerful that God is asking for help. She realized that it was very important for her to participate. Then she was also confused of the fact "that they will always be with you." This confused her and overwhelmed her to a point where she started ignoring and not listening to the stories of poor people. Her misunderstanding force her to distance and avoid the reality of poverty, a meaningful opportunity to help another person and to love, until she heard Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Micro Finance founder speak.
After listening to Dr. Yunus, few months later Jessica quit her job and went to East Africa to Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania interviewing entrepreneurs that had received 100 dollars to start or grow a business. She learnt about little stories from people. Personal stories how a little capital can change these people's lives. May be to buy a lock to put on their door to feel safe, or to buy sugar to put in a tea for a guest like her and feel proud of themselves.
She spoke to farmers, to seamstresses, to goat herders. How this little $100 capital change their lives. Jessica said she got the impression that money would work. She was a philosophy and poetry major in school, and didn't know the difference between profit and revenue. She wanted to share this with her friends and family. That's how Kiva was born.
Little Capital to buy Sugar for the Tea
After starting Kiva she had interviewed these business owners. While she was interviewing an entrepreneur she said she got frustrated. She want the money to buy sugar to put in the tea. Suppressing her frustration she asked her why you need sugar? She then explained when people come and if she can give them a cup of tea with sugar. They will admire that and with that little customer service she can start selling more tea. Jessica said she was glad that she didn't tell her anything out of frustration that she wanted to buy sugar for tea. She realized the business motivation behind this woman's need for sugar for a cup of tea.
The Story of her book "CLAY WATER BRICK"
Jessica also shared a story of how a brick maker develop his brick making business step by step while working hard. He did not go and buy everything to make more bricks. He first started making bricks with hand although a little crooked. Then made a mold with what he sold with what he made with his hand. And then learnt and build a harth to make the brick. She said that was the real enterprunership. We have to agree with you Jessica. And her book "CLAY WATER BRICK" was a product of this experience and the lessons that she wanted to share with the world.
Below she is reading a favorite passage of the WCOF Book Club chose.
This book is available at amazon.com for you to purchase. I haven't read it and everyone who read said it was so good that they just wanted to keep on reading until the end.
Author of "CLAY WATER BRICK" and Co-founder Kiva.org, Jessica Jackley
Lessons to learn as an Entrepreneur
Some lessons she wanted you to remember. See below. I think they are pretty important.
"The pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled."
"There is always a way forward"
"There is always something to learn"
"You have everything you need"
Some highlights of the evening! Enjoy!! Not in any particular order. Jessica Jackley is no longer with Kiva.org and had moved on to working other projects.
To see more pictures go to Social TeaV Facebook page