Khatira is a 51-year-old woman, married with three children. She is a professional baker who bakes bread and local pita with meat and greens. She has four years of experience and she does her work perfectly. She uses only organic products and bakes bread in a special oven that is fueled with natural wood. That’s why her bread is in high demand, and the scent of it carries far beyond her home when she bakes.
The bakery is located inside the yard of her house, so she is able to work from home. Her son helps her to fire the furnace and prepare the dough. These are hard processes that require a lot of strength. This is only one financial income in Khatira's family, because she is on a pension that is too low.
She has applied for a loan of 1500 AZN to purchase more products for her oven and for the dough. This will be her third loan and she has a positive loan history.
Aqroinvest Credit Union was founded in 2001 by a group of 32 farmers from Imishli. It has since grown to become the largest credit union in Azerbaijan, owned by its more than 5,400 borrowers and boasting a portfolio of nearly US$12 million.
AqroInvest is focused on providing loans to the following groups of people: rural farmers, people living in distant southern villages with little or no access to finance and internally displaced people and refugees, many of whom lost their homes and livelihoods during the violent conflicts in the 1990s.
In May 2011, Aqroinvest started a new project with Kiva proving higher education loans to students. The project gives students the support and financing they need to continue their education and helps pay for tuition fees at various universities in Azerbaijan. Aqroinvest is the first credit union in the country to offer students loans.