“Nothing stops a bullet like a job”, is a quote by Father Greg Boyle. Father Boyle realized that having a job, purpose and income can be a powerful motivator in the process of change and development of the people in East Los Angeles. Homeboy Industries was started as an organization rooted with the mission to provide jobs and meaningful activity to ex-convicts, gang members and the urban poor of that area.
The reason I quote Father Boyle is because of his mission and the connection that it has to my life mission and goals. The urban poor and those “at-risk” are people with whom I have had much experience with over the last 7 years of my life, in both a domestic and international level. My job experience has taken place in inner-city Los Angeles, working with multi-cultural adolescents and families who are at-risk. Our organization seeks to collaborate with these individuals to “promote possibilities” and train them with the life skills they need to pursue gainful employment and further education.
Working in schools and mental health, through my job, has provided me with the experience and skills to transition well into international work. I have been able to travel to various areas of the developing world in order to volunteer with organizations that are working to support the urban and rural poor. My international volunteer experiences have included; Morocco, Zambia, Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), Dominican Republic, and Mexico. In each of the countries, I worked to provide training and support in different areas of development; education, health care, psycho-social care and relief work. Each of these countries had different areas of needed improvement, but so many of those issues are connected to poverty.
Kiva was introduced to me about 3 years ago and when friends of mine left last year to take part in the Kiva Fellows program, I realized that it was the organization whose mission aligned with my life missions. Combined, my experience in domestic and international work, I had been left with a desire to be in the segment of development which is working to prevent and change the issues of poverty. My life plan is to continue my education in the fields of education and development in order to be part of the movement working to end global poverty. Consistently throughout my personal research into areas of development, I have heard how education and microfinance are two ways in which people can be directly empowered to better their situation. The inspiring aspects of microfinance include the direct lending to the loan recipients, the creation of community amongst those who have little support, and the encouragement of generousity among citizens in developed countries. Kiva is a way to allow those with enough in life, to be generous and support those who desire to bring themselves and their families to the same place.
Generosity is an inspiring thing. It is for this reason that I wish to be a part of Kiva. It is an organization that encourages generosity in some to enable the potential of others who live in settings that lack the support to do so. My skills and experiences in working in domestic and international development settings have provided the experience needed to be a strong addition to the KIVA organization.