Thursday, August 30, 2012

Volunteer Spotlight: Hanh Vu, an editor with a twist

“Editing is a daily reminder that people around the world live differently than me," says Kiva volunteer editor Hanh Vu. "I feel so lucky with my life.”

Hometown: Homosassa, Florida

Lending Team: Kiva Comma Squad

Volunteer since: October of 2010

Outstanding Contributions to Kiva: Since joining the team in the fall of 2010, Hanh has reviewed nearly 5,000 loans and contributed over 100 posts on Kiva's volunteer forum. From sharing on the forum to flying across the country to run a relay with her team leader, Mari, Hanh embodies what Kiva is all about: connection.

How did you find out about Kiva?

I was watching late-night TV and the Charlie Rose program was featuring Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Melinda Gates. They were asking the super-rich to pledge at least 50% of their net worth to charity, and Melinda Gates brought up the point that you don’t have to be a millionaire or billionaire to give back. Then she mentioned Kiva. At first I just thought that I would lend, but then I saw that there was an opportunity to volunteer, and from that point on I was hooked.

Why do you choose to volunteer your time with Kiva?

Kiva is the first volunteer organization where I can get 100% into it and not dilute my energies. It makes me feel great that I can do this daily, like a daily reminder that there are people who live differently than me around the world.

What is your favorite Kiva Field Partner or region?

Since I’m Asian, I tend to stick around Asia and sometimes Africa when I’m lending. As a first generation Vietnamese immigrant, it’s sort of serendipitous for me, as if I can imagine myself being there. 

What is the most memorable borrower profile you've encountered?

I remember one profile where a borrower was asking for a loan to repair his motorbike. The man’s face was aged with the weight of the world, but in the background of the photo, his son was sitting on the bike. I remember the little boy had the biggest grin on his face and just looked so happy. 

Where is your favorite place in the world to travel?

Australia, with its friendly people, gorgeous rainforests, tablelands, and Great Barrier Reef diving. What’s not to like?

What's something unusual or surprising about you? 

After beating cancer, I feel that because I’ve had the opportunity to come out of a near death experience that I don’t take life or people for granted. I can also twist a pretty good balloon dog!

Interested in volunteering with Kiva? Learn more and sign up here.

This post is by Anika Lindemuth, Review and Translation Program Intern.

Photo provided by Hanh Vu.