Avan is a smiling, upbeat person. She is an Iraqi woman who tries to see the positive in life, giving her the strength to tackle each day, one step at a time.
Her strength is most needed, as she is a widow taking care of a young son who needs special medical care. Every three months, he has to be taken to the hospital for a blood dialysis.
Avan, with 40 years life experience and no education, does what she can: going strong, focusing on what she can do to make her family's life easier and better. Four years ago, she started to bring some additional income into her family by doing sewing and tailoring work from home. It is a small, but sufficient business that keeps her busy.
Avan successfully applied for, received and repaid a loan already with Relief International-Iraq, and she now took a loan of $1,500 USD.
The loan will allow her to buy an embroidery machine and raw materials for meeting her customers' needs, and she hopes to generate a steadily growing income to support her growing son.
About Relief International Iraq
Relief International (RI) is a non-profit non-sectarian organization with a multifaceted approach to working in post-conflict, vulnerable and transitional countries. As part of its core mission to bridge emergency relief with long-term development though sustainable, enterprise-oriented solutions, RI directs a broad microfinance portfolio in the Middle East and South Asia. In Iraq, RI microfinance has been providing access to capital for micro, small and medium enterprises since 2006. When lending through RI, there are several points to consider:
1. RI-Iraq offers loans that are customized for borrowers in Iraq, a predominantly Muslim country. A key principle of Islam is the prohibition of charging interest on a loan. This prohibition is based on the belief that money is only a medium of exchange and has no value in itself. In order to offer loans in a manner consistent with borrowers' values, RI-Iraq charges 0% interest on this loan. However, RI-Iraq does charge a servicing fee to cover its costs. The loan amount you see listed on Kiva includes both the principal loan and the loan servicing fees. As with all Kiva loans, you should expect to have your funds returned to you according to this loan’s repayment schedule. For more information on lending in the Muslim world, please click here.
2. Because of on-going security concerns, due diligence on RI-Iraq was conducted remotely, rather than in-person as is typical with most Kiva Field Partners. RI-Iraq does, however, meet all of the other minimum criteria required by Kiva's full due diligence.
3. One of the challenges of lending to entrepreneurs in Iraq is the increased chance of difficulty transferring funds between the United States, where Kiva is based, and Iraq. While Kiva has been able to send and receive funds to and from Iraq in the past, there is a chance that we may encounter problems doing so in the future. This could result in difficulty repaying loan funds to lenders, even if individual borrowers have paid back their loans. As a lender to borrowers in Iraq, you would be taking on this additional risk.