IB students start a Kiva organization branch at CHS


Emma Cummins

The Coppell High School KIVA club members gather in D hall with their sponsor, IB Economics teacher Jared Stansel, for their weekly meeting. The group discussed club elections and how they would choose what small businesses to fund.

Sofia Guerrero, Staff Writer

For former United States Navy member Tracey, getting a loan from Kiva organization is a dream come true. She is starting an eco- friendly cleaning business so women can feel loved while helping the community.

Students in Jared Stansel’s sixth period International Baccalaureate (IB) Economics Higher level (HL) class are starting a Kiva organization branch at Coppell High School. Kiva is a non- profit organization where people in developed countries donate microloans for low-income entrepreneurs and businesses in developing countries. Kiva links the privileged person in the developed country with somebody in a developing country who is trying to start their own business.

CHS seniors Jia Lou and Sehrish Rupani are two of the students in the IB class that are a part of the Kiva branch.

Lou said everyone who wants to do something to make a difference now has an outlet to do so with Kiva.

“A micro loan is a very small loan with very low interest, and it’s not something that requires a whole lot of planning and organization simply just to donate $25 to a website,” Lou said.

Rupani adds that the person can give up to $25 as a loan, which will be repaid. There is so little interest that it can help out the entrepreneur while getting their money back.

“And once you get those $25 back, you can go ahead and choose to withdraw it or you can go ahead and give it to somebody else,” Lou said.

Lou said Kiva is a way to help others and good opportunity for CHS students.

Stansel is incorporating Kiva into his IB class, and he really believes in the organization.

“Kiva is designed so that individuals who are in a very positive and beneficial socioeconomic level, those people can then use their positions to help out other people [who are] less fortunate,” Stansel said.

Stansel adds that people do not donate money to people in developing countries so they can have food and water. They help those people to better help themselves in starting businesses and raising their life quality.

“For the students at CHS, it will reinforce a more global perspective that we as human beings are not isolated to just this small geographic region,” Stansel said. “That collective consciousness of being human, that mindset is further reinforced through these type of efforts.”

On Kiva’s website, Rupani said card tabs with photos identify those in need and how much financial support they are seeking. If people want to donate, they simply press the ‘Donate Here’ button and donate. As people start donating, the little bar fills until they have reached their goal.

Stansel said to donate money, you have to make a profile on Kiva’s website and connect it to your bank account. The bank account allows for automatic withdrawal and to donate money digitally.

Former IB teacher Donnette Alexander taught IB Economics before Stansel. She started a club here at school so they could start raising money. And when she retired, she passed Kiva along to Ms. Anderson.

Stansel mentions that he wanted to bring learning opportunities to the HL class. His students are putting a non-profit organization together that will help not only people in developing countries, but also themselves.

“The reason I wanted to do Kiva is because it was already established here. I want to incorporate it to the class,” Stansel said.

He was inspired by an author, Sheryl WuDunn, who empowers people with her novel. The author writes about people who want to take action and help developing countries.

“It really does open people’s eyes to how privileged we are here and how much better off we are than a lot of other people,” Lou said. “I think this is a really eye-opening experience and I’m excited to see where it takes us.”

According to Rupani, the organization last year was very disorganized to a certain degree, and Kiva wasn’t very known to people. This year, the IB students hope to establish Kiva as an important part of CHS.

Because Kiva is empowering people to help themselves, the individuals that Kiva is providing microloans to can take initiative. Kiva is helping them, and as a result, they are encouraged to continue.

“If through our little organization here we can further promote Kiva and educate other people on Kiva,” Stansel said. “Then more people will hopefully get involved in Kiva. We can help more people help themselves and they can be more productive.”

It not only creates a more productive world for economic development, but it creates a more peaceful world.

“What makes Kiva different from other organizations is the fact that it’s so sustainable,” Rupani said. “You’re not just giving handouts, you’re empowering somebody to start their own business. And that’s what makes Kiva so unique, that’s why I think Kiva is going to prosper in years to come.”

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