Alina Rizvi and Marco Sementilli, this year’s St. John’s University GLOBE student fellows, accompanied Dr. Linda Sama to Vietnam for the program’s inaugural international visit with potential microloan borrowers and local Daughters of Charity, who serve as GLOBE field partners.
During their 13-day trip in May to Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat, and the Mekong Delta, the trio shared information about financial literacy training with Habitat for Humanity; visited with Nike’s microloan affiliate program; met students at an English language school; introduced GLOBE to the sisters of the Lovers of the Holy Cross order; engaged with young students at the Daughter-run school in Da Lat, including a class of autistic children (see photo); and spoke with entrepreneurs at the Daughters of Charity’s Home for Single Mothers, Home for HIV, Embroidery Club and Credit Union.
Spending time with young women at the Daughters’ Home for Single Mothers just outside Ho Chi Minh City, a haven for women who become pregnant out of wedlock; making rice paper with borrowers from the Women’s Union, Nike’s microcredit affiliate program; buying products made by the women training at the Vocational School at the Domaine de Marie convent in Da Lat; and, meeting entrepreneurs who are part of a group loan program through the Daughters’ Credit Union in the Mekong Delta, all revealed potential partnerships and loan opportunities that made this a unique experience for the fellows.
“This is a great step forward for GLOBE. Our operations will spread from home in the United States, through Africa and all the way on the other side of the world in Vietnam. It is such a great feeling that I directly helped in the process of gaining these ties. I am excited for future GLOBE managers to start reviewing applications and to begin the process of lifting people out of poverty,” stated Marco Sementilli.
While in Cai Mon, in the Mekong Delta, the Fellows Program identified a new borrower from the Credit Union who needs $300 to buy a machine that would cut bamboo for the baskets he makes, allowing him to increase production that would double his earnings to $2 per day. Alina Rizvi explains, “It was astonishing to see what skills and knowledge some of the poorest of people had. You would meet someone who was so gifted at what they did, and then be dumbfounded upon learning they make less than a dollar a day.”
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business has provided a high-quality business education for over eighty years, offering individuals from throughout the world the opportunity to study in New York’s dynamic business environment. The innovative curriculum emphasizes an analytic and hands-on understanding of business practice that prepares graduates to excel in today’s global marketplace.
GLOBE’s mission is to help alleviate poverty in developing countries by providing small business loans to entrepreneurs in impoverished areas who would otherwise not have access to traditional forms of credit. Simultaneously, GLOBE students learn about the intricacies of microlending policies in the developing world and the value of business in helping the poor to help themselves.
Every year, peer students and the GLOBE Steering Committee review applications and qualifying essays to select one or two student fellows to travel to a destination where microloans are currently distributed. Selected student fellows prepare for their trip by reading about the cultural, economic and political conditions of the country they will visit and the impact that microlending has there. This year’s fellows worked with former and incoming GLOBE managers to translate key documents into Vietnamese to facilitate communication with their hosts.
For more information about the GLOBE program, please visit www.stjohns.edu/tobin/globe or contact GLOBE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: Daughters of Charity, Globe, microfinance, St. John's University, Vietnam