"What’s the one thing that can truly change the course of someone’s life? Education."
Seattle, WA (PRWEB) December 15, 2011
Efforts to increase global access to education received a big boost today: Google.org, making $40 million in end of year grants across three categories, announced that it will support Vittana, a non-profit that combines the massive reach of microfinance with the transformative power of education by building the world’s first student microloan programs with MFIs in developing countries. Vittana, whose website allows users to make loans directly to students, will use Google’s $250,000 grant to build 24 additional programs by 2013. Vittana aims to ignite a global market for education microfinance—one that will reach 1 million students by 2015.
Google’s support for Vittana is perfectly timed: having doubled its field partner base from 10 to 20 microfinance institutions over the course of 2011, Vittana is ending the year with a bang. After taking a little more than two years to reach their 1,000th student, Vittana programs will surpass 2,000 students in December, less than six months later. Vittana students come from 12 different countries (including Bolivia, Indonesia, Jordan, and Ghana) and borrow an average of $730 to finish their education and enter professions such as nursing, welding, and accounting. Vittana loans have a 99.8% repayment rate and are projected to triple a student's income—that is, take someone living on $3 per day to $9 per day.
On stage at TEDx Brussels in November, Vittana CEO and co-founder Kushal Chakrabarti asked “What’s the one thing that can truly change the course of someone’s life? Education.” According to Chakrabarti, a former software engineer at Amazon.com, “Every year of education after high school exponentially increases the earning power of young people in developing countries. We believe student microloans are the most scalable, sustainable, and impactful tool we have to fight global poverty.”
Google joins a list of prominent investors and philanthropists who have given their support to Vittana in 2011, including Mike Murray (former senior executive at Apple and Microsoft) and Hadi and Ali Partovi, twin brothers known in Silicon Valley for successful early-stage investments in companies like DropBox, and OPOWER. Their support allows Vittana to continue to change the global conversation about education.
Vittana is a registered 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in Seattle, Washington.