A candid description of my trip from NYC to rural India and finally to U. of Michigan, Ross School of Business. Go Blue!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

One week left.....

HAPPY HOUR this Thursday, June 1 beginning around 6ish at The Magician, 188 Rivington Street (b/n Essex and Norfolk streets). Click here for the citysearch map.
Please stop by to have a few drinks, say goodbye, and even drop off that donation check you've been meaning to send in :)
I would love to see you all!!!

Time goes by fast and I leave in a week with only 4 days left of work. I feel ready aside from not having adequate clothing yet for Indian weather/culture. Also, by far my biggest worry is the peanut factor, as I hear cooking with peanut oil is quite common across India. If you know anything about me your know peanuts (all nuts for that matter) are my nemesis. I am prepared with several allergy medications but am still concerned nonetheless. As a result, I learned my first Hindi phrase:
mein mungfali khake beemaar pad jaati hun (I fall sick after eating peanuts), and also:
mungfali nahi (no peanuts)!

I also received word of the families I'm staying with. In Dungarpur where my intenrship is, I'll be living with the Vyas family. They are the founders of PEDO, the organzation I am working for. They have a daughter in her 20's who will be there. She will be my translator and coincidentally enough she just finished her MBA. When I go back to Udaipur on the weekends, I'll be living with a young couple and their newborn baby. Their in-laws also live in a seperate part of the house. It's going to be a great experience and I'm glad I'll get total immersion into the lifestyle.

That's all for now, please come back and visit to read about my time in India all summer long!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Fundraising Letter

Dear friends and family,

This fall I plan to pursue my MBA at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Ross is one of the top business schools in the country and I feel blessed to have this amazing opportunity. While there, I plan to focus my studies and activities on the field of microfinance, an economic development initiative that provides financial services like low interest loans to people living in the poorest communities around the world. Access to this credit allows the poor to take advantage of economic opportunities like expanding businesses, sending more children to school, creating better living conditions and in general transforming households from every-day survival to planning for the future. You’re thinking lending to the poor sounds like an incredibly risky venture right? Well actually, Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) are popping up everywhere now that some of the oldest and biggest MFIs are seeing decent returns and loan repayment rates of around 98%. Even banks like Citigroup and Deutsche are getting involved in this effort to achieve decent returns through socially responsible investments. In fact, on paper it’s actually riskier to loan to me for grad school than to a couple of women in a remote village starting a sewing service!

This leads me to the purpose of my letter. Finance people like me are greatly needed to implement business improvements and standards within this fast growing arena of economic development. On a personal level, I want to spend my summer doing something that benefits the millions of people in this world who live on less than $2 a day. As a result, I have been accepted for a volunteer internship with a nonprofit organization that will send me to Udaipur, India. While there I will help a Microfinance Institution improve lending capabilities and empower business development initiatives for women in several villages. I am very excited to utilize my skills and knowledge base to benefit others in this way, but there are obviously costs associated with the program. My goal is to raise the $2600 fee through generous donations from family and friends. I will be paying for my flight. The money raised will cover in country travel, living expenses, visas, language training, administrative fees and finally a grant to the MFI to support my project work.

I would be extremely grateful if you would consider contributing to this cause. 52 donations of $50 each would pay for the trip, but whatever amount you can give will be immensely appreciated. All donations are tax deductible. Please note that the deadline for raising my funding is rapidly approaching as I will be leaving to begin the internship during the first week of June!!

If you would like to write a check please make it out to Foundation for Sustainable Development and send to me at: Jennifer Anderson
8 Ashland Road
Madison, NJ 07940

Include my name in the memo portion of your check in order to receive a letter from the Foundation acknowledging your contribution as tax deductible.

Alternatively, you can donate online by heading to my web blog, MicrofinanceGirl and following the instructions on the right side. Please make sure to drop me a note if you decide to donate on the Foundation’s website so that I may keep track of these donations. I will be writing about my experiences in India and posting pictures on my blog, so check there often to see how your funding is put to use.

For more information on the organization I will be volunteering through please see this link:
For more information on microfinance, please see these:
www.cgap.org or www.mixmarket.org

Thanks again and wishing you all the best,

Jennifer Anderson

Thursday, May 11, 2006


The fundraising is moving along slowly but surely. I thank you all who have donated for your support. For those of you who haven't, it's not too late! Send me a check or click one of the paypal links on the right (if you donate to FSD's paypal acct directly, be sure to let me know so they can mark your funds as dedicated to my project).

Today the article I wrote for my town newspaper, the Madison Eagle, was published. I am very appreciative of the editor for giving me this opportunity to spread the news to my hometown.

I also went for my immunizations this afternoon. Luckily, most of my Africa vaccinations from a few years ago are still good. In fact, all I needed was my final Hepatitis A shot and malaria pills. I decided to get Larium given the much cheaper cost over Malarone. Which means I could be having some interesting dreams over the summer. I already occassionally sleepwalk so this could be interesting.

Finally, I was more than thrilled last week when I saw a press release on the Morgan Stanley Today page talking about microfinance. Morgan Stanley is beginning to get their feet week in the microcredit world as they just issued a collateralized loan obligation (CLO) to be facilitated through BlueOrchard, one of the biggest funds that invests in microfinance institutions (MFIs). In this special deal, mainstream investors can purchase the debt and the total deal size is $100 mm. The money will be leant to 22 selected MFIs around the world. Pretty cool! I've actually been in touch with the people behind this deal at Morgan Stanley and I hope to remain in contact with them as they further pursue endeavors in the microcredit world. Click this link to read more about the deal.

That's all for now....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Well here's my first post. The night before I give up my apartment in New York and return to NJ for a while. It's hard to leave and walk away from this fascinating city; all the great friends I've made and the good times I've had. I've learned so much about myself since coming here. But I think I am ready to move on (as hard as it may be to give up a very reasonably priced apartment!)

I really am excited for the future and hopeful that I've in fact opened myself up to a world of opportunities. No looking back now. India is ahead. I've been talking about this for years and I'm so glad I finally did it. Please read along as the blog is about to get interesting.

If you would like to support me by donating to my India Trip, please click on one of the links on the right. BE SURE TO EMAIL ME (click the "email me" link) if you donated directly to FSD as that is the only way for them to keep track of donations meant for my volunteer project. All donations are tax deductible.
Thanks for your support!