Kiva Fellow Motivation Statement

I want to become a Kiva Fellow because I’m extremely interested in social entrepreneurship – which I’ve studied about in college and have continued to follow through news articles and releases from nonprofit organizations like Ashoka. I believe that microfinance is a powerful means for entrepreneurs to better their lives and the world, and I hope to learn more about microfinance on the ground, not just in theory but in person and in practice.

On a slightly more personal note, right now seems like a good time in my life to try something slightly off the beaten path. At Brown University I was an international relations concentrator with a focus on development studies – very much prompted by my background as a Taiwanese diplomat’s daughter. Growing up I’ve lived in the U.S., Taiwan, Israel, and for a short period in Malawi. However, living with my parents I often felt like I was restricted to the bubble of the international community. Also being much younger then, I didn’t really appreciate the constantly moving lifestyle that being part of a diplomat’s family demanded. I did however grow up with a healthy appreciation and respect of different cultures and the challenges that often come with the clashing of cultures.

Going to Brown University helped further my social awareness. I received a grant to work with a local nonprofit organization called PrYSM the summer of 2005. That ended up being one of the richest yet most emotionally grueling summers of my life – PrYSM works with the local Southeast Asian / Cambodian community in Providence, and they were working on a deportation campaign at the time. It’s very difficult to sum up this experience in a few words, but I usually boil it down again to the word “respect.” Respect for different people, their cultures and lifestyles, and their struggles for a better life and world. Thinking about the possibility of a Kiva Fellowship, I hope to be able to regain that ongoing feeling of “respect” for others.

Since graduating from Brown in 2006 I’ve worked in web management and government consulting. The fields that I’ve entered are interesting, but they weren’t necessarily ones that I would’ve envisioned myself in coming out of college. I believe that I can gain solid experience and knowledge from working in the private sector that would someday translate into value-added work for the public sector. While I’m still trying to work through what my short-term goals are, I’ve always been convinced that I want to work in the public or non-profit sector in the long run.

For all the above reasons I believe that a Kiva Fellowship would be a great opportunity for me at this point of my life. I’ve gained some great experience working in the private sector, but would greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with a nonprofit again – especially an organization with an international development scope that deals with social entrepreneurship, within the cross-section between the private and public sectors.

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