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The Arab Women´s Bank Group
In this Group: Emma , Yendry, Shirley, María , Elizabeth, Kembly, Andrea, Rita
The Arab Women's Bank is made up of eight members who live in Pococí, Limón, located near the Carribbean coast of Costa Rica. These hardworking entrepreneurs are involved in various revenue-generating activities, including clothing sales, manicure/pedicure services, sewing/alteration services, and catalog sales. In general, this loan will be used by each individual member to make investments in her specific business activity. Vendors of catalog items will invest in merchandise such as clothing, DVDs, pots, pans, perfumes, and jewelry. Seamstresses will purchase fabric, thread, and needles in order to produce clothing for sale. Some members will use this loan to invest in nail polish and other tools necessary for providing manicure and pedicure services. The members of this group offer their products and services to clients in their immediate community as well as to people in neighboring communities.

The loan consultant who has been working with these women describes them as a tight-knit group with much experience in their individual businesses and the mutual goal of attaining a higher standard of living within their communities and families. The name of this group comes from the Bible. To the members of the group, Arab refers to growth and expansion, both of which are central values for this group.

Emma Q. Cevrato is a 35-year-old mother of four who lives with her family in Pococí. She is also the elected president of this group. Emma is involved in two types of business: sewing/alteration services and the sale of brand-name clothing. She says the secret to organizing her day in a productive manner is keeping to a schedule. She designates blocks of time to take care of domestic tasks and blocks of time to her business. When she is very busy, her children assist her by tending to the sales part of the business while their mother sews in her workshop. Emma's goals are to expand her business and grow her list of clients. Her dream is to own a business separate from her home. With respect to her family, the immediate goal is to establish economic stability. The main obstacle to her progress is a lack of working capital funds in order to invest in sewing materials such as thread, needles, and fabric, as well as clothing merchandise.

The members of the Arab Women´s Bank are neighbours and friends who have lived in the same rural community for the majority of their lives. They identify the main advantage of the group lending model as the ability of each member, without collateral or credit, to act as a guarantor for other members, which enables each member to receive a loan. The main disadvantage they identified was the possibility that if somebody defaults in the group, or has trouble repaying their loan, this implies a responsibility to act in support by the other members of the group.

Additional Information

More information about this loan

In Costa Rica, funding for microfinance institutions is hard to come by, and many institutions find themselves having difficulty growing and reaching all the demand for loans that exist. Kiva works with Fundacion Mujer because it attends a very marginalized population in Costa Rica, with a specific focus on women. In addition to the loan, Fundacion Mujer provides specialized training programs for their borrowers on everything from computer classes to salon training. Because of the difficulty in obtaining capital in Costa Rica, Fundacion Mujer cannot serve all the women that need loans. Therefore Kiva plays a unique role in helping Fundacion Mujer grow its portfolio and reach borrowers it otherwise would not be able to.

About Fundacion Mujer:

Fundación Mujer is an organization specializing in the financial and personal development of female entrepreneurs in Costa Rica. They seek to reach underserved populations that may include indigenous communities, immigrants, refugees, victims of domestic violence or women living with HIV/AIDS. Fundación Mujer offers courses in both business and personal development, as well as training in concrete skills such as sewing and other crafts.

This is a Group Loan

In a group loan, each member of the group receives an individual loan but is part of a larger group of individuals. The group is there to provide support to the members and to provide a system of peer pressure, but groups may or may not be formally bound by a group guarantee. In cases where there is a group guarantee, members of the group are responsible for paying back the loans of their fellow group members in the case of delinquency or default.

Kiva's Field Partners typically feature one borrower from a group. The loan description, sector, and other attributes for a group loan profile are determined by the featured borrower's loan. The other members of the group are not required to use their loans for the same purpose.

About Costa Rica

  • $12,900
    Average annual income
  • 57
    View loans »
    Costa Rica Loans Fundraising
  • $4,673,875
    Funds lent in using Kiva
  • 502.2
    Costa Rica Colones (CRC) = $1 USD

Success!! The loan was 100% repaid

A portion of The Arab Women´s Bank Group's $2,400 loan helped a member for the purchase of clothing, sewing materials, and manicure products to support the members' individual businesses.
100% repaid
Repayment Term
8 months (Additional Information)
Repayment Schedule
Dec 13, 2010
Dec 22, 2010
Currency Exchange Loss:
Jul 15, 2011