A Kiva Zip Friendship with Jeannine

When I first joined Kiva Zip, I was told that the first borrower I would work with would always hold a special place in my heart. Looking back, I realize how wildly understated that warning was. I would never be truly prepared for the touching experience and friendship that I was soon to gain.

On my first day at the Kiva Zip office, I was asked to call Jeannine Maxwell and discuss her profile and explain the Zip process. Still learning the details myself, I was quite nervous for this first phone interview. However, almost immediately the fears and the panicky voice went away, replaced by the sounds of laughter.

Jeannine is an inspiration to all those who meet her. She grew up in the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, living in truly desperate conditions. Her father abandoned her when she was 9 years old, and a few years later her mother died from cancer.

Strengthened with the resolve to better herself, Jeannine worked hard and moved to New York City at the age of 26. She was drawn to cosmetology 22 years ago through a simple twist of fate: She signed up for free classes at the local secondary school but discovered the only free class was one on hair-styling. Soon after, she became a licensed cosmetologist and has spent over the last twenty years working in the industry.

Today, Jeannine is ready to make yet another positive change in her life. She is currently studying to be a certified trichologist and dreams of building a successful business and trichology practice that works with people who are experiencing hair loss and scalp issues. She desires to help them build a new healthier lifestyle. In order to achieve this dream, she wishes to take out a loan through Kiva Zip.

A couple of weeks ago I traveled to Jeannine’s neighborhood to meet with her and discuss her dream of building her own business. Although we spoke for almost an hour, I swear between all the laughter and stories, the time just flew by. Jeannine had originally heard about Kiva through her own research on the organization and was both excited and eager to begin the process. We talked about her story, the cold, and both of our experiences moving to NYC, but it was her passion and drive that impressed and inspired me.

Jeannine has led an incredibly difficult life. She has pushed herself forward and has grown to be an inspiring entrepreneur. Now with her life settled in she wishes to help others and move to this new stage in her life. It was a pleasure meeting her and I firmly believe that she will be successful in whatever new adventure and dream she sets out to accomplish.

Jeannine is endorsed by Winston Ndow, an account manager at NYC Business Solutions, Upper Manhattan. To support Jeannine and entrepreneurs all over the U.S., click here.

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Posted by Mary Larocque, Kiva City NY Intern

Mar 30, 2015

Mary was born and raised in Denver, CO, but has called New York home for the past four years. Now a senior at NYU, Mary is finishing up her BA in International Relations and Economics. In conjunction with the completion of her degree, she is also working on an undergraduate thesis illustrating the effects of micro-lending on women's economic independence in developing countries. Mary's passion for travel and her enthusiastic study of microfinance has provided her with many unique opportunities working within the field both domestically and abroad in countries such as Argentina and Ecuador. She is thrilled to contribute her diverse knowledge and experience to Kiva Zip.

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