My classes’ experiences with KIVA have been very touching. The Wickman KIVA Kids program had been in place about three years when I came to Wickman. For the past six years, we have chosen the Middle East as the part of the world to whom we would make our loans. Any of us could have lectured or talked about the KIVA program, but only through making the loans did out students really begin to open their eyes.
Immediately, students began to come up with creative ways to make money to fund the loans. That began a collaborative process in which the students worked with one another to earn money. What really impressed me was when the students went to our computer lab, with monies they had earned, and began to look at the people in need. While students could not directly communicate with these people (in many cases their identity and faces were hidden), they began to empathize with them.
They learned that what seems to be a small amount of money to them ($25) can help to provide another individual clear across the world with the means to make a living. My students felt the joy of giving, of making a difference, and that is what makes Wickman KIVA Kids so very special. At the end of the year, we had a world summit where the entire sixth grade could SKYPE with KIVA volunteers and other adults, sometimes celebrities, that spoke of the importance of connecting with people outside their community, their state, and their country. For my students, and for me, Wickman KIVA Kids has been an invaluable program.
Retired 6th grade teacher, Wickman Elementary School