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Bayan is a joyful Iraqi entrepreneur, with the true spirit to spread beauty through her arts and crafts work. She is 55 years old and started her business endeavors with her beauty salon where Relief International staff had the pleasure to meet her. Her salon is a small, reputable establishment attracting many clients in her neighborhood.

While she is proud of her salon and the successes she had with the business, Bayan's passion is her art work. She makes beautiful crepe paper flowers which she displays in various ways on picture frames to hang as 3D art, in vases as simple bouquets or just as simple individual stem of flowers. The lifelike pieces take about 6-8 hours to make and she is constantly trying out new techniques and new type of flowers. Until now she has been working from her home in her spare time on this precious hobby, and then taking her works to various fairs in town where she can sell her products for about 60-80 dollars each. But unfortunately such fairs are infrequent, and also it takes time and money to attend them. And although she now has a lot of nice and finished pieces, she has no place to really display them and sell them.

She would like refurbish a little back storage space next to the salon, and use it as a small shop for the decorative pieces. The location is really ideal, as the room has a street front, and with some basic work can easily be turned into a cute shop for her works - an ideal start for a business opportunity she is so passionate about.

Just Listen to her short video introduction:
"Hello, my name is Bayan. I learned this art and started working with the raw materials when I was a child and till now I enjoy working and improving my craft. And now I hope to make it even better and take it to the next level. I would like to teach the art and have a few people work with me, and together work on creating both clay ceramics and flowers - as you can see - which are made of crepe (or tissue) paper. And I hope to continuously improve my work and results. Thanks!"

Bayan is taking an SME loan from Relief International Microfinance Iraq to finance the refurbishment of the space and open the shop to display her works.

Additional Information

More information about this loan

This loan is part of the WLIFT program (Women Leveraging the Internet for Financial Transformation), a partnership between Kiva, microfinance institution Relief International, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and the U.S. State Department. The program combines customized technical assistance with loans for women-owned small and medium enterprises in Iraq to help them grow, increase their profitability, and create more stable jobs in their communities.

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.


About Iraq

  • $7,100
    Average annual income
  • 0
    View loans »
    Iraq Loans Fundraising
  • $9,342,650
    Funds lent in using Kiva
  • US Dollars
    Loan transacted in USD

Success!! The loan was 100% repaid

A loan of $14,400 helped Bayan to finance the refurbishment of her building and open a shop to display her works.
100% repaid
Repayment Term
21 months (Additional Information)
Repayment Schedule
May 27, 2013
Jun 26, 2013
Currency Exchange Loss:
Aug 17, 2014