Fatima is a forty-seven-year-old mother of three children. She has been living in Bourj el Barajneh, which is in the southern suburbs of Lebanon. Fatima has been selling saj bread for twelve years. A saj is the metal oven used to make saj bread; it is a traditional Lebanese cooking dome. The saj is used to make several types of bread, including markouk (thinned) bread and doughy confections, or mankoucheh. A mankoucheh looks like a folded pizza; the most common toppings are zaatar (thyme), jebneh (cheese) and lahm bi ajin (minced meat). You can eat it any time of the day, but it somehow tastes better in the morning. For the first time, Fatima has requested a loan from Al Majmoua in order to purchase raw material for her saj, as well as to purchase a refrigerator for her work. Fatima is very well known in her region for her good and tasty saj. She is also a good cook in general, but she decided to focus on the saj because it is demanding. When she first started her business, she wanted to improve her family’s income, but now that she has been working, she is glad that she has independent work. For the future, she plans to keep on improving her business.
About Al Majmoua – Lebanese Association for Development
The Lebanese Association for Development – Al Majmoua is Lebanon’s leading microfinance institution and the oldest Kiva partner in Lebanon. Al Majmoua’s vision is to “be the leader in creating an inclusive financial system where all people in Lebanon have access to affordable services.” Given Lebanon's diverse population, Al Majmoua lends to all nationalities, provided legal residency. The strong financial position achieved to date has allowed Al Majmoua to steadily lower its pricing over the years.
Based on the belief that non-financial services play a complementary role in improving the quality of life of the most vulnerable entrepreneurs, Al Majmoua has established a solid Business Development Services program for both borrowers and non-borrowers with a focus on women and youth.