How Did You First Hear About Zidisha?

Discussion in 'Z Lounge [off topic]' started by Laurie, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. Laurie

    Laurie Liaison: Anglophone+Francophone Countries Zidisha Volunteer

    I'm always curious to know how others (borrowers, lenders, and anyone else associated with Zidisha) first heard about the platform. :)

    This is how I first heard about it:

    Someone had given me a gift certificate to original Kiva as a Christmas gift in December 2014. After I redeemed it, I made two loans there (my husband is half-Ecuadorean, half-Colombian, so I made a loan to an Ecuadorean woman and another one to a Colombian woman). However, I then realized that the loans I made there may not actually go to the specific individuals I intended those to go to; and there was no way for us to communicate with one another; and, worst of all, I discovered that the interest rates charged to borrowers there is on average about 35%, meaning borrowers likely end up in worse financial shape than when they began. I wanted no part in adding that kind of stress to people's lives, and I vowed never to make another loan on original Kiva, and I never have.

    I quickly discovered Kiva-Zip after that, which offers interest-free loans and which does allow direct borrower-lender communication. So, I made a few loans there, as I like that model much better than the original-Kiva model. There still was something about the culture there, though, that I didn't really like much, so I started searching to see if there might be something I'd like better. The very next thing I found was Zidisha. :D I learned that Kiva-Zip actually is modeled after Zidisha. :) The culture at Zidisha, though, is different from Kiva-Zip's and is more to my liking. I am not active on Kiva-Zip anymore; I'm just receiving repayments on loans over there, which I withdraw into my PayPal account and which I intend to use on Zidisha :p).

    I had been thinking about doing something to help others (besides mainly just my husband and his family, I mean), but didn't really think I could make much of a difference in the world. However, that changed after I watched Tom Shadyac's documentary film "I AM" in early-December 2014, and read his book LIFE'S OPERATING MANUAL, WITH THE FEAR AND TRUTH DIALOGUES, soon afterward ( He is the inspiration behind my being at a place like Zidisha (and the gift card someone else gave me to Kiva in late-December 2014 is what led me, soon after that, in late-January 2015, specifically to Zidisha).

    I'd love to hear others' stories of how you discovered the platform. I hope some of you will share.

  2. Daniel Kivango

    Daniel Kivango volunteer mentor Volunteer Mentor

    Wow how interesting it is Laura, to me I remember very well it was last year around July 2015,i was really in financial need and by that time I had I loan with the bank which I was still I was scrolling in my Facebook account, I came across the zidisha group and read what is all about but at first I couldn't believe it.But I said I have got nothing to loose by trying as long as they are not going to ask me to pay any money prior to apply for a loan.So I went ahead and clicked on their link which led me to the home page of application.

    I had no one to send me an invite so I went ahead and then the starting amount was USD 50 which was equivalent to around kes 4,987, out this I was deducted the deposit fund plus the registration and I was to receive kes 987,but I learned the amount I have been deducted its refundable apart from the registration I went ahead and confirmed. The rest is now the history of me making the right move :)
    Shaka, Laurie and Roy like this.
  3. Laurie

    Laurie Liaison: Anglophone+Francophone Countries Zidisha Volunteer

    Hi, Daniel! :)

    Thanks so much for sharing! Your story is interesting, too!! Am so glad Zidisha is working for you. I think it does great things in people's lives (borrowers' and lenders', alike) and I think it has the potential to do even greater things in the future.

    True (and I mention this for anyone else reading who may not know), the deposit into the Members Loan Fund--(which is a kind of "insurance pool" so lenders get reimbursed if any loans they've made are defaulted on)--is refundable as long as you don't have any outstanding loans. If you have that deposit refunded to you and then want another loan in the future, you'd have to put your deposit back into that fund. But you can once again have it refunded to you later, anytime you don't have any outstanding loans. In effect, you pay only one Members Loan Fund deposit in your lifetime, or zero if you have it refunded and never come back for another loan.

    Borrowers qualify for larger and larger loans over time, after they successfully repay earlier, smaller loans.

    The Membership fee also is a one-time-only fee in a borrower's lifetime. The difference is that the Membership fee is non-refundable.

    Each loan carries a 5% service fee, but all loans are interest-free (yes, all Zidisha loans are extended at 0% interest! -, with very flexible repayment terms (borrowers can adjust their payments up or down, according to ability to pay, as necessary, according to life circumstances).

    Yes, at first, it's hard to believe something like this exists, but it does! :cool: Thanks to @Julia Kurnia. :)

    Warm regards,

    P.S.: I notice you called me "Laura"... my parents actually named me with the diminutive form of the name, "Laurie" (and not "Laura"). ;) Just "FYI".

    Most people call me "Laurie"... a few of my close relatives call me "Laur"... and some of the borrowers here call me "Aunt Laurie" (some wanted to call me "Mom" beginning last Mother's Day, but I have zero "mom" experience... except as adoptive "mom" to feline and canine "children", lol... so, I just could not and probably never would be able to relate to being called "mom" by any human being, so we settled on "aunt"... even though I don't have any actual experience with that either! :rolleyes: ... my brother, just like me, also chose never to have any children). Anyway, so that's my name: Laurie. :p

    Btw, no worries that you called me "Laura"... it's only that that sounds just as strange to me as "Mom"... really just can't relate to it! :confused:
    Seth Afari-Boateng likes this.
  4. sefah reindolf

    sefah reindolf Osofo Volunteer Mentor

    Waaoo!that's great to hear.I always say Laurie is super fantasticlive long to continue to help us
    Laurie likes this.
  5. Nyaanga

    Nyaanga Early Bird Volunteer Mentor

    Mark you if you were in kenya our grandmothers will be calling you lori
    ..... Like... Lorry.. LOL
  6. Laurie

    Laurie Liaison: Anglophone+Francophone Countries Zidisha Volunteer

    Sorry, @Nyaanga, I don't follow. o_O LOL... must be due to cultural differences. ;)

    So, why your grandmothers? What generation is that? (probably my age, lol)... and why would they change the spelling of my name from "Laurie" to "Lori"?

    Btw, "Lori" is the way some people do spell a similar name, given to them by their parents, but it's not pronounced exactly the same way as "Laurie" is pronounced.
  7. Alex Lewa Tsuma

    Alex Lewa Tsuma Gold Member Volunteer Mentor

    Laurie, your story of you first hearing about Zidisha is fascinating. As for me, I was just surfing the net to know more about online lending when I bumped to Zidisha org. First I thought it was a Kenyan org because of the word "zidisha" which means increase in swahili. But alas!! on my navigation in the "about" column, I realized it was a multi national org founded by one Julia Kurnia..Now, the story behind her founding Zidisha was so interesting to me. I immediately found out that i can register which i did instantly. And thats how i found this great org.
    Laurie likes this.
  8. Laurie

    Laurie Liaison: Anglophone+Francophone Countries Zidisha Volunteer

    Nice story, too, Alex! :) Just as I did, you found it only by happenstance!

    Soon after I joined Zidisha, I enjoyed learning what the word "zidisha" means, and that it's a Kenyan word. :) I didn't know that when I first joined. But soon after, I included something about it on my profile on the main Zidisha website, for others who also are just learning about Zidisha: - "I was interested to learn what the word 'Zidisha' means. For those who have not yet discovered its meaning here on the website, it's a Swahili word for 'multiply' or 'grow' or 'increase' or 'expand' - as in a business, in enlightenment, in freedom, etc.:" Cool meanings. :cool: Excellent name for this organization!
  9. Daniel Ankamah Mensah

    Daniel Ankamah Mensah Gold member Volunteer Mentor

    @Laurie, that's an interesting story. Thanks for sharing.
    In early 2015, when I was doing my national service at a hospital, I overheard some people talking about mobile money and it's transfer (I had never transfered money before) then I asked; why are you guys talking about money transfers. And they responded by saying we have found a place we can borrow money to invest in our business. Immediately I said what's it. Can I register without asking for any other details.
    I was given the website to study the FAQs and get back to them if I want to register. After carefully studying the FAQs and other things, I decided to join. That decision I took one year ago had been my best decision ever and had truly helped me.
    I have never regretted joining Zidisha. Had it not been Zidisha, huh life would have been hmm.
    I once tried the kiva thing but the interest rate and the mode of transfer (through some particular banks unavailable at my region) hindered me from requesting for the loan.
    So that was how I heard about Zidisha.
    After one year, all I have to say is God bless the Zidisha family.
    Thank you for your help.
    Laurie and Alex Lewa Tsuma like this.
  10. Alex Lewa Tsuma

    Alex Lewa Tsuma Gold Member Volunteer Mentor

    Nice story Daniel..
    Laurie likes this.
  11. evans forson

    evans forson Gold Member

    Laurie,your story is wonderful. My is. I googled for something else and came across Zidisha.l decided to learn more about it.later l realized that l could join.l joined and my first loan was approved.
    Laurie likes this.
  12. Laurie

    Laurie Liaison: Anglophone+Francophone Countries Zidisha Volunteer

  13. Laurie

    Laurie Liaison: Anglophone+Francophone Countries Zidisha Volunteer

    Interesting story, Daniel. Yes, thank you for sharing. :)
    You're welcome for whatever help I'm able to provide.
  14. wambui kungu

    wambui kungu You Are Your Only Limit

    I had just started my small business was out of a job and needed money to grow it. I went to the banks and of course could not get any credit. reasons; No collateral-( they needed business stock , land or house titles or vehicle log books) , where was i supposed to get such things when i dint even have job and just needed a small amount ,$100, to start my business, they also didn't fund start ups( big risk) i was informed, i had to have been in business for at least 3 years . But i was determined to build my business , so i went online and did my research on affordable loans and bingo! i found Zidisha.
    I cant thank the lenders enough, because of you i can walk with confidence and dont have to beg bank staff who think just because you dont have any collateral you dont qualify to be anything big.All dreams are valid and am one happy borrower.
    God Bless and Long Live Zidisha.
    Laurie likes this.
  15. Laurie

    Laurie Liaison: Anglophone+Francophone Countries Zidisha Volunteer

    Nice story! Thanks so much for sharing! Am very glad Zidisha is helping so much. :cool:
  16. Gab

    Gab Gold Member

    Wow, i'm soo soo happy to hear, i mean read your stories about how you all heard about zidisha, i said 'hear' because when am on Zidisha platform i imagine myself on a round table all hall with selfless guys from different corners of earth and it is fun chatting business and personal life stories. Now about your stories, i love it how you guys came to about Zidisha, i'm left with almost no rib about you Nyaanga and how you described Laurie -that is true Laurie, it is the way old women and men from Kenya especially my community would pronounce your name -Some would even shout to call "Kilorrie" hahahaa lol- meaning a big lorry, could be because your name is big and is growing bigger n bigger here in Zidisha.

    Now that aside, Late 2014 a lady called Mirriam came looking for cyber services and i had just started it so i welcomed her in and for the first time i heard about zidisha, i had heard about Kiva before and even tried but it didn't work for me so i thought Zidisha is similar. We checked on how she was doing with a loan she was servicing and i somehow got convinced. She invited me via her email and i decided to try early 2015. Since then things have never been the same again, day after day, week after another financially i'm getting stable. I have managed to get machines that I would have otherwise not managed to purchase very soon. By the way another very important thing is that Zidisha has helped me to have self believe because at first I never imagined I would manage to service any loan because in Kenya we have been made to believe loan belongs to the big fish/heavy weights which to an extend is very true because to get a loan you your bank account must be very “good” for certain period of time and you must have a collateral to attach. God Bless Julia, God bless the lenders, God Bless Zidisha Community, i'm humbled to have you guys.....
    Laurie likes this.
  17. Laurie

    Laurie Liaison: Anglophone+Francophone Countries Zidisha Volunteer

    Ohhh! LOL. You still may need to explain what a "lorry" is, to others here in the United States... most here don't know... I didn't!... I had to look it up... I'm well-traveled (mostly before the age of thirty, though... so, it's been nearly thirty years since I've traveled much at all, and definitely since I've traveled outside the U.S. or Canada)... but I've never been to Britain... or Kenya, or Ghana... where apparently they/you call a TRUCK a "lorry"... hmm... well, "Laurie" is pronounced "Lah-ree", not "Loh-ree"... still, though, I just may need to change my name! :oops::rolleyes: LOL. :D Ironic, too, that some there would say a "big lorry" because I'm teeny-tiny! You know, except maybe for some Asian women, I've never met anyone else as tiny as I am... I'm only 5'0" in height (which is about 1.5 meters)... and I don't even weigh enough to be able to donate a pint of blood... nowhere even close to the minimum weight requirement here, which is 100 lbs (which is about 45 kg)... when I weight that, I'm fat... I kid you not... I have a very tiny frame, so just 10-15 lbs. of additional weight makes a huge difference! So, none of this "big truck" talk, okay?! LOL.

    I know you meant it in a different way, though! And I want to say something about that. Well, many of you probably remember @Bayle C, who was here for two years and used to be the one who answered the majority of the posts in the public part of the Forum, before she had to leave (as many of you may recall, she found a paid job doing another type of humanitarian work at another non-profit organization, a job that has a long commute from her home, and it's a full-time job, so she just hasn't had time to be here in the Forum anymore (ever since October 2015), much as I know she would like to be. And after she left, I noticed that the posts in the public part of the Forum almost never were getting answered by anyone, only because there are so many other things to do behind the scenes (which I also do, too), but I decided I would do that. However, sometimes I really do need to be away from the Forum; and even if that weren't the case (which it is), I still think there should be more than just one person responsible for answering the majority of the posts. Well, recently, a new position was created at Zidisha, which is Operations Coordinator, and I asked the person who is in that position (Alejandra Cors) if it would be possible to have other volunteer staff members get involved in the public Forum on a regular basis. She said, "yes!" :D So, she and/or I will be introducing some new volunteer staffers to you soon. In fact, you already may have seen some posts answered by some of the new staff members. :)

    This will allow me to take a short leave-of-absence (October 1st-December 31st) from most of my online Zidisha tasks (the Forum being just one of several areas I work in for Zidisha), to have time to work on some offline projects that I need time to focus on for a little while. Two of the offline projects are Zidisha projects. ;) I won't disappear completely from the Forum, but I won't be here nearly as often as I've been since Bayle's departure. That will be true when I return in January, as well. This will give you opportunities to get to know more of the staff, and for them to get to know you, as well. :)

    Anyway, I learned something from you tonight, Gab, which is that apparently there in Kenya "left with almost no rib" means you were laughing very hard, correct? I've never heard that expression before! Hmm, though, still nobody has explained why is it that "old men and women"... (and, hmm, LOL, how old is "old"??? LOL)... would pronounce my name in a different way from the way younger people there would pronounce it? Most people of all ages here pronounce my name the same way ("Lah-ree"). I'm curious as to why people older than you would pronounce it a different way? :confused: What does age have to do with it there??? Can you clarify that for me? I'm a curious person. :rolleyes:

    Very nice story! Thanks for sharing! :D Am glad Zidisha is of such help to you! :)
  18. Gab

    Gab Gold Member

    There are quite a number of factors that contribute to the way we pronounce words here Laurie, It depends with your mother tongue or to an extend community, for instance in my community words with "L" and "R" gives us alot of headache especially if you've grown up in the up-country. Another factor is due to age -did you know that teeth has alot to do with the way you pronounce words? mostly loss of teeth is characterized by age and that is why i said old people. Another last factor is your kindergarten and the ECDE teacher, mostly you will find yourself pronounce words the way your teacher used to even when you are grown. That said and done now you know. hehe

    It is good that you said you will still continue contributing even though not as it is now and i bet everyone here enjoy yours presence here as i do. Your contributions make Zidisha a true community of one people with different colours. We learn alot from each other "Fraternity is not equal to community"LOL you remember.
  19. Laurie

    Laurie Liaison: Anglophone+Francophone Countries Zidisha Volunteer

    Oh, okay, Gab. I think I understand, about "L" and "R" causing pronunciation issues for some people in some areas of your country (similar to some Asians having pronunciation issues in the English language with those two letters, too).

    And thanks for pointing out for others who may not know that English is not the first language of most people there; I do know that, which is why I sometimes edit original posts when I "quote" them, because many borrowers have told me that they appreciate learning from the little corrections. I never mean to offend anyone by doing that, only mean to help teach. I hope I haven't offended anyone.

    About the pronunciation of my name, though, it's the vowel sound that would change it from "Lah-ree" (the correct pronunciation of "Laurie" to "Loh-ree" ("Lori" or, lol, "lorry"--i.e., "a truck" in Britain, Kenya, Ghana, etc.:, not the consonant sounds. Still, though, I think I can see how maybe some people might pronounce it differently. And, yes, in fact, I do know teeth have a lot to do with the way people pronounce words. Even just a minor misalignment of one's teeth can cause pronunciation issues with some words.

    Yes, I still will contribute in the Forum, when I can. Thank you for your kind words, Gab. I enjoy being here when I can be. But my other duties are more involved, and I'm only one person, so I really do need to take some time away to focus on the offline projects, and then when I come back online (on a regular basis, I mean... am not going to disappear completely even during the rest of this year when I'm mostly working offline), I'll need to be more careful about the hours I put in, because I've been really exhausting myself! Not burning out, though... I doubt that could ever happen at Zidisha! There's just too much good here for that passion ever to die! ;) Am quite sure you'll enjoy the others who will be contributing on a regular basis from now on, too! (Zidisha attracts really wonderful people; it's one of the reasons there isn't anywhere I'd rather be!) I think it's really important that more of the staff be visible here, and not just one person most of the time (Bayle, before & me, lately)... there are many other people working here and you really should get to know them, too! And they, you!! :D

    Oh, yes, I remember! LOL.
    Gab likes this.
  20. Laurie

    Laurie Liaison: Anglophone+Francophone Countries Zidisha Volunteer

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