Ali is a 47-year-old Iraqi man with a family of four children. For 16 years, he has been working hard to support his family, setting a great example for both his family and other small businesses.
Despite working hard, in the past he was only able to generate a small income with a small coffee shop in the market area of the city. Then he had the opportunity to receive a small loan from Relief International-Iraq, which allowed him to sell food also. With his newly found passion for food, and an opportunity to grow, after repayment of his loan he took a second loan, which allowed him to open a small restaurant.
The restaurant has been steadily growing. Ali now took a loan from RI-Iraq for 3,000 USD to provide a better variety of choices and be able to have fish from the nearby lake on his menu as well. He will also improve the electricity and lighting in the restaurant.
Ali is glad he had the opportunity to grow and is happy about being able to support not only his family from the business, but also help a few other families through employment in his restaurant.
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.