Hear our intern Alexa’s thoughts on winning the Vodafone World of Difference Award

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to share some exciting news with you all. I’ve been awarded the Vodafone World of Difference grant which allows me to extend my internship at the MicroLoan Foundation for two more months. I’m still slightly in shock as, with over 11,000 people entering, I thought there was no way I’d be one of the lucky 500.

I graduated from Manchester University this year with a degree in Anthropology and Archaeology which allowed me to gain a new perspective on the world and its cultures. This led to my interest in international charity and made me want to do something pro-active to help in some way. I had never heard of the concept of micro loans or the MicroLoan Foundation until it came up in conversation one day when trying to decide what on earth I wanted to do now that I’d graduated (daunting stuff!). Anyway I did a bit of Googling and realised what a brilliant idea microfinance was and what a great charity MicroLoan seemed to be. Now that I’m working here I can confirm that it is, most definitely, a great charity.  I’m so excited to be able to get the chance to continue my work with MicroLoan and spread the word about the great work they do.

Giving people loans allows them to take control of their own futures. Along with the training we provide, the loans mean that women are given a chance to build up their own businesses and finally give their family simple things that we take for granted – an education; more than one meal a day; and a stable roof over their heads. The best thing about this is that it allows women to build up a sustainable business and become self-sufficient so that in the future they don’t have to rely on charity hands outs.

Our new campaign is called Pennies for Life, asking people to collect all their unwanted change – pennies, 5p’s, 20p’s -promoting that what seems like the smallest amounts of money to us can make a huge difference for those in Africa. In order to promote it we are going to attempt a Guinness World Record in July for the longest chain of pennies. My role within the charity and this campaign is to project manage this World Record attempt. It’s a bit of a scary task but it’s going to be a great challenge for me and will hopefully be a huge success. We want to collect and lay over 4 million pennies which will extend more than 50 miles!

So that’s a little bit about me, my exciting news and what I’m doing here at MicroLoan. It would be great to hear from anyone who wants to get involved in the record attempt and I’ll keep you all updated with its progress!