Here’s the answer to the question I asked you yesterday: the mystery photo was of the Broken Obelisk in Red Square on the University of Washington campus. I think its a pretty amazing sculpture, don’t you? I guess that would have been next to impossible to guess if you’ve never seen it before. ; )

I know I don’t usually talk about much other than my photos on here but there’s a new start-up company in Seattle I’m really excited about, so I thought I’d do a little write up. Its called Vittana and it facilitates microloans to would-be students around the world who can’t afford tuition. If you’re a student like me, you’re probably already struggling to pay your own tuition, but the great thing about microloans is that 100% of your $25 (or whatever you choose to loan) goes directly to the student and will be paid back to you. Here is the blurb from Vittana’s website:

“In most countries, student loans just don’t exist. The Vittana community is enabling students around the world to get access to higher education for the first time. When you make a loan to a Vittana student, 100% of your funds go to the student. Using your loan, the student finishes college (or vocational school), gets a degree and then gets a job. When the student repays Vittana, Vittana repays you the full amount of your loan — if you lent $25, you are repaid $25.”

If you know me personally you probably know that I’ve become really passionate about issues around education and social justice, so I was thrilled to hear about this company. If you have a few minutes, take a look at the How it works page on the Vittana website and see if you’re interested – and let me know what you think!

*click image for full view

**taken with kodak 400 on my canon eos rebel k2

9 responses to “Vittana!

  1. vittana sounds like the most amazing company for students! what a deal! i love how you’re so passionate about education and social justice. :)

  2. Wow why yes, that sculpture looks like something I’d only see in a fantasy movie where the hero would have to scale it to find the secret opening. It really commands your attention.

    I recently just spoke to a new yorker who’s pretty old right now and he’s still paying off his student loans and I was quite amazed by it all. Over here, parents usually fork out the money if their kids choose to go to college. Most of the time. So none of my friends or I have ever experienced what you’re talking about. It’s really great that Vittana exists!

    • I think some people’s parents can afford to do that. But in general college is pretty obscenely expensive here in the US – I think around $15,000 a year for public school and anywhere from $25-45,000 a year for private schools. Is it that much in Singapore too? With the students that Vittana helps, I think the costs of education are much lower than in the US but still out of reach for a lot of people – that’s whats cool about it, your tiny loan can really go a long way!

  3. Vittana looks good. Would like to tweak the business model a little to particularly encourage loans to students in say community health / teacher training. (If you are seeking to maximize development impact in a low income community, women students in these areas have more long term positive impact and are statistically better credit risks!).

    • I see what you mean, but you do also have the option to choose to loan to students that fit those descriptions. I don’t think its necessary for example to exclude would-be human rights lawyers or someone who wants to improve their business skills – the person making the loan can simply choose where they feel their money will be best put to use.

      • Very true Allison – Vittana does encourage potential students to make their own pitch and is good in letting potential lenders decide on the relative merits of where their money will be used. Strong private sector entrepreneurs (business, accounting and law students too) are all very much needed to produce meaningful development impact and promote social justice.

  4. Pingback: Vittana in the News | Vittana·

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