Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This World Give Day, change a life with a loan

With the swift, savage cut of a knife, Yenku Sesay’s life was changed forever.

On May 6, 1998 Yenku had the misfortune of being home when soldiers from the rebel army, Revolutionary United Front, invaded his village in northern Sierra Leone and cut off his hands as punishment for voting for the country’s current leader.

With the closest hospital hours away, Yenku had to wait three days before a motorbike was available to take him. While doctors were able to heal his physical wounds, finding treatment for the emotional scars was more challenging.

For eight years, he struggled because his handicap disqualified him from many opportunities -- but he never gave up hope. In 2006, Kiva Field Partner Salone Microfinance Trust (SMT) looked beyond his amputation and recognized his natural business acumen and drive.

Yenku joined four neighboring borrowers and was approved for a loan equivalent to approximately USD$100 through Kiva. Yenku used this portion to begin selling goods on the street. After two years spent reinvesting the profits and building credit with SMT, he was able to grow his business into a shop, and eventually expand into livestock and agriculture.

Coupling hope and hard work, Yenku was able to convert this small loan into a means for self-reliance. He’s now able to support his family, send his children to school and even pay for his younger brother’s education.

Stories like this remind me of how small gifts can have a big impact. And when you make a loan on Kiva, you get your money back to give all over again. World Give Day is May 4. What will you give this year?

This post is Kiva’s contribution to a blog series inspired by World Give Day and hosted by GiveForward. To find other posts in this series, visit or follow them on Twitter @worldgiveday.