Students use Kiva

During class meeting last week students learned how to donate $25 to Kiva, an organization that makes loans to people in low income countries. The event, called “Aunt Kim’s Birthday Gift” was organized and funded by the Vietnam Initiative Project.
Students were given specific codes to create an account on the Kiva website that was prepaid with the money. From there, students chose a specific person to donate money to.

The needs ranged from money needed to buy a new cow to funds needed to restock a kiosk. Once the person receives the money and is able to buy whatever he or she needs and makes a profit, they will repay the money back to Kiva.

“I thought it was really simple and did a lot of good,” Sabrina Batchler ’15 said.

About 25 other students from various other high schools also donated.

The Vietnam Initiative Project, a club created by Raymond Chung ’15 in 2012, aims to improve the lives of impoverished people in countries like Vietnam.

Chung got the money for the Aunt Kim Project by visiting stores and talking with the owners asking for sponsorship. In return, the stores were given publicity by being listed as sponsors in the initiative’s YouTube videos.

“It was very tough at the beginning,” Chung said. “A few said no, but I kept trying and eventually got a couple of important stores to say yes.”

These sponsors allow VIP to let students donate money from the Kiva accounts.

“I came up with the idea of giving a present to my Aunt Kim because we share the same birthday, Jan. 14. It has been 12 months since she has been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and my family and I wanted to something special to present to her this year,” Chung said.

VIP had other projects in the past, like funding the building of a house in Vietnam in 2012.

“In Vietnam, we worked with a non governmental organization, called East Meets West, and we paid for supplies and workers,” Chung said.

Currently the fund has $200,000 in checks and Chung is expecting about $20,000 more.

VIP will donate the remaining money to Kiva in the next couple of weeks when the sponsor’s checks are approved by the organization.