My name is Jonathan Hiebert and I would be ecstatic to become a Kiva Fellow. I will be graduating with my degree in International Business in December 2011 and want to explore professional and effective organization to volunteer with. My extensive travel experience to over 40 countries including many third world countries shows my desire to continually stretch myself culturally. I love to steep myself in any culture that I find myself in, making friends with locals and gleaning from them as much of their way of thinking and living as I can.
Ever since I volunteered at a Micro Credit start up organization in Swaziland in 2007 I have been interested in learning more about this effective way to help the poorest of the poor. My interest led me to take two online courses with the Chalmers Centre in Microcredit. Seeing how some governments work in some third world countries, how rural people fall through the cracks with large banks, and especially how woman have such limited rights but are expected to keep their families provided for including not only children but grandchildren as well. From this experience my view of the third world was changed forever. While working with rural people in Swaziland, these people did not need another hand out (not including people unable to work or with physical or mental disabilities) they needed opportunities. Loan sharks had unrealistic interest rates, rural people had limited knowledge of basic business practices and rural people had no idea of what was offered to them in cities (MFIs and the like.) I was able to connect rural people with city organizations and set up a conference for rural woman to learn about group loans and micro loans and how to apply or learn more about these amazing opportunities.
My life goals are to be a businessman full of integrity with a heart for social responsibility. I need to constantly be challenged and must find meaning to be passionate about what I do to be personally fulfilled I do not know specifically what I want to do for a career and hope that this internship will open my eyes and broaden my horizons even more as to what field of work I should pursue. I know that this volunteer opportunity with Kiva will gain me a firm grasp of how micro loans effect those on the front lines and how they can, and do, change lives.