MINNETONKA, Minn. (WCCO) — Students at Minnetonka Middle School are helping people, thousands of miles away, live a better life.

They are participating in a global program that helps to lend money to poor people who are trying to develop a business. As we found out — it’s not just about the money.

“We’re looking to make connections with people outside our normal-day boundary,” said sixth grade teacher, Mary Fenwick.

She started the Kiva program at the school three years ago. So far they’ve given out about $4,000 in no-interest loans.

“Maybe other parts of the world aren’t as wealthy as the United States and our economy and it’s going to help out other people,” said student Abby Gordon.

Students are very picky about who gets the money. There’s a rating system — only people with four stars can get a loan. And they typically give out $25.

While that doesn’t seem like much — it goes a long way to someone living in a third-world country. It’s also making a huge difference in the classroom.

“We want to make sure that the financial institutions in the country that we’re loaning to are secure and that it will get to the people,” said Fenwick. “They usually have two months and then after the two months is up, they start their paybacks.”

Students held fundraisers and some put in their own money to build up the money pot. And once the money is paid back — it goes back into the money fund so they can loan it out to someone else in need.

“It feels good because you know you’re helping out other people who you know don’t have as much as you do,” said student Bella Broin.

Sonya Goins, Producer
Contact Sonya

  1. Patricia Buschette says:

    In a world that expects “someone” to take care of problems, Mary Fenwick has provided an example of lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness. Not only that but she has taught students that they too are empowered to make a difference. Congratulations to her, her students and to CBS Minnesota for sharing the story.

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