Pioneering Microfinance in Education

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Vittana Reaches 1,000 Students Funded Worldwide

Education is the most powerful tool we have against poverty. A lot of organizations talk about changing the world—I believe Vittana really can.

Mark another notch on the belt for the growing social movement of using emerging technologies to enact true change across the world. Vittana, a cutting-edge education non-profit that leverages the power of the crowd to fund student micro-loans for young people in developing nations, has reached a pivotal milestone: 1,000 students fully funded.

Launched in 2009, Vittana is revolutionizing the fight against global poverty by empowering students to finish their education. Vittana's tremendous growth in just under three years is testament to the strength of its model. Vittana students have a 99% success rate and earn nearly three times their original income after graduation—going from $3 a day to $8 a day in Asia, for example. Of Vittana, legendary venture capitalist Vinod Khosla said, “Education is the most powerful tool we have against poverty. A lot of organizations talk about changing the world—I believe Vittana really can.”

The 1,000th student, Bernarda Esmilsen Escobar, is a young woman studying nursing in Paraguay. A mother, Bernarda didn’t have additional money for school and requested a $900 Vittana micro-loan to finish her education. When she graduates, she’ll earn more than $20 per day—up from just $9 a day—to support herself and her young son. When applying for her loan, Bernarda said, “I am a fighter and have high expectations for my life, so I work hard every day. Everything I do, I do for my son’s well-being.”

Committed students and an active lender base that spans thousands of people in 50 countries are just part of the unique recipe that makes Vittana successful. Ron Freach, a Vittana lender from Pennsylvania who made a $25 loan to Bernarda, was eager to support her education. “Lending to Bernarda was an easy choice,” he said. “She is studying nursing while raising a son and working much as I did at her age. So this was part philanthropic, and part personal. …By working through Vittana I can in some small way support Bernarda in her efforts to become a nurse.”

You can hear exactly why so many people have gotten excited about Vittana in the upcoming “What does education mean to you?” campaign, featuring many notable individuals including Tim O’Reilly (CEO, O’Reilly Media), Marissa Mayer (VP, Google), Satya Nadella (President, Microsoft Server and Tools), Tim Ferriss (Author, 4-Hour Workweek), Vivek Kundra (CIO, United States of America) and dozens of others. A 30-second PSA featuring these and other notable individuals is included with this release.

“Education is so personal—it means something different to everyone,” Vittana co-founder and CEO Kushal Chakrabarti said. “At the same time, if there’s one thing we’ve learned working with thousands of students and lenders around the world, education is also universal—it means something to everyone. That’s what we’re out to capture.”

Vittana – About Us
Vittana empowers young people to create a life of opportunity through the power of education. Education is the single-most powerful tool to fight global poverty and, on vittana.org, anyone with $25 can support the education of a young man or woman in 10 countries.

Vittana was named Best Non-Profit at the Seattle 2.0 Awards and has been featured in the Economist ("A Hotbed of Innovation"), Fast Company ("5 Social Capitalists Who’ll Change the World”), the Clinton Global Initiative and many other world-stage venues. Vittana aims to reach 1 million young people by 2015.

Vittana is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Seattle, Washington.
Link to 'What Does Education Mean to You?' Video ###

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Lindsey Maxfield
Vittana
(206) 395-4332
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