Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kiva and KivaFriends

I participated in my first 'loan' drop at Kiva Friends today. I had heard about them before, its when a Kiva friend (someone who hangs out at, you can be one too) holds interesting loans in their baskets for other kiva friends to participate in.

I have been wanting a loan to Mongolia for a while; its a country I did a lot of reports on as a child because I had gerbils and 'Gerbils come from Mongolia'. So I got notice there was a Mongolian loan being held and I participated in the drop! (mostly involves hitting refresh).

I made two loans today - one to Tsermaa Minjuur in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for her butcher shop (and I'm sorry I"m not going to put up her picture 'cause I don't eat or like meat).

The other loan was to the Government Technical Institute Group in Magburaka, Tonkolili, Sierra Leone.
These gentle men are staff members of the Government Technical Institute Magburaka, Tonkolili District, Northern Sierra Leone. Government Technical Institute, Magburaka, was founded in 1962 by the government for the promotion of technical and vocational education. They teach mechanical engineering, carpentry and joinery, block laying and concreting, automobile engineering, plumbing and sheet metal work, painting and decoration and many more. Presently, the institute has a total of fourteen staff and twenty-five students. The ten years old civil war tremendously disrupted the smooth running of the institute. Before the war, the institute used to have an enrollment of about 200 – 300 students. In 1997 – 2002, rebels vandalized the whole institute – buildings were unroofed, labs and libraries destroyed. However Sababu Education, a World Bank sponsored project is currently rehabilating the institute. But the project does not call for reequipping the laboratories and libraries. Government Technical Institute Magburaka is the only government technical institute in Magburaka town. Over the years, the institute has been able to train so many technicians serving both within and without Sierra Leone. It makes good grades at the external examinations organized by City and Guilds of London Institute. The institute also serves as a consultancy and guard to the people of Magburaka. This is the first loan Government Technical Institute is requesting from Kiva through SMT. With this loan, some of these teachers will start a small business and those who are already running small businesses will invest the loan into their businesses. Some of the staff members will be using the loan to buy pieces of furniture, others to pay either for their children in their education or pay for themselves to pursue further studies. Others will use their loan in home building projects. David E.A. Kamara is the principal at the Institute. He has been a teacher for forty-three years now. Mr. Kamara (right) was born in Makurgbo, nine miles from Magburaka. He is sixty-one years of age, married to a teacher and the two of them have five children. Four of their children are in secondary schools and the eldest is already a grown-up. Mr. Kamara will use his loan to pay his children’s school fees and solve many of his domestic problems.

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