Michigan High School Students Needed to Build a Better World through Microlending
BIRMINGHAM, Mich., Jan. 3, 2012 – When it comes to building a better planet, a little help from Michigan goes a long way. In fact, a single high school student can make all the difference in the world.
For Raj Vutukuru, a senior at Athens High School in Troy, Mich., the secret is Kiva. A not-for-profit organization, Kiva facilitates microloans by linking lenders and borrowers online, whether around the world or around the corner. Founded in 2005, the organization’s website is Kiva.org. Vutukuru founded the Troy Athens Kiva Club in 2010.
To help Michigan high school students discover how they can get involved in microlending, Vutukuru will present “Starting Your Kiva Club” on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, at The Student Connection in Birmingham, Mich., from 1-2 p.m. The program is free and open to interested high school students. For details and to reserve a space, please telephone The Student Connection at (248) 594-3410 or email
“We want to show people what Kiva is all about and how easy it is to make a real difference in people’s lives through microloans,” Vutukuru said. “We’ll go over what students need to know to get their own club started as quickly as possible. Once started, they’ll be amazed at how quickly they will be of help.”
Whether helping a struggling farmer in South America or a budding entrepreneur in the City of Detroit, Kiva microloans as small as $25 can make an enormous difference – a “macro difference,” Vutukuru said. The people use the loans to help fund their business, then they are repaid to be reused by the organization or returned to the original donor.
“Every dollar makes a difference,” Vutukuru said. “Once their business starts up and makes a profit, the entrepreneur repays the loan to Kiva. The funds can be used again for a new loan or returned to the original lender in full.”
After graduation this June, Vutukuru plans on attending Michigan State University and later pursuing a career as a physician or researcher in a field related to human health. He also is interested in cinematic arts and science.
To date, Kiva has arranged $271 million in loans to 664,000 individuals and small businesses. Kiva microloans have helped start schools, clothing stores, transportation companies, and other enterprises that would not normally qualify for regular bank financing. Loans average $386.11. Kiva reports 98.9 percent of the loans are repaid, with interest.
Recently, a local consortium was formed to focus microloan efforts in Detroit in partnership with Kiva. Working together, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Michigan Corps, ACCION USA and Kiva helped provide microloans to people and organizations in Southeast Michigan. As part of the effort, the Knight Foundation provided $250,000 in matching loans made by individuals. For details on the project, please visit Kiva.org/Detroit.
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