Vittana was founded to help students finance the last step of their education, helping them escape poverty by vastly increasing their lifetime earnings potential. Over the last five years we have worked with 50 microfinance institutions and specialized student lenders to introduce student loan programs where they never existed before and refining them along the way. After reaching nearly 20,000 students worldwide, we have great evidence that these graduates are on their way to much better lives and we’re very proud of that work http://vittana.org/about/impact. We have been successful in catalyzing the creation of student loan programs; we are no longer the only people who think that students are worthwhile investments. We have built a team of dedicated, hard-headed idealists dedicated to transformational change for students around the world.
We currently work with 35 partners in 17 countries and have decided that we will not begin new programs. We still believe that millions of poor students around the world need access to finance to go to school, and we are working to determine how pieces of our programmatic work can continue as part of other existing organizations. As soon as we have finalized arrangements, we will announce them here.
In any event, our microfinance partners now lending on the Kiva platform will continue to offer our loans to an ever-increasing number of students: http://www.kiva.org/vittana . In fact, today there are more Vittana loans on Kiva than ever.
Vittana has never been a conventional charity. One of our founding beliefs was that once we reached scale, we could do our work sustainably, without shifting costs and risk onto the students. We have had wonderful donors support this effort but after five years and a few different approaches, we haven’t found a robust business model to wean ourselves off that support. We want to be true to our original promises that we would not be philanthropically funded forever.
As a result, our team has decided that Vittana should cease to exist as a standalone organization. We have made the painful decision to begin winding down the organization in its current form.
We would like to thank all of the incredibly generous Vittana donors and lenders, our board, our team, and our microfinance partners. (Lenders can access their accounts at http://my.vittana.org/login — and withdraw credit balances, or donate future repayments.)
To the students — working with you has been a privilege and we wish you continued success.