Asllan is requesting a loan to buy medicinal sage seedlings. So far, he has had only cherry orchards and grapevines, and he recently decided to add sage as well. He has been photographed in the field planted with cherry trees.
Sage also grows wild in southwestern Albania and in a northern region that is considered the poorest corner of Albania, making it perhaps the poorest part of all of Europe. The wild sage smells very strong. Albania exports sage to the USA and, according to the statistics, 60% of domestic use of sage in the United States is imported from Albania. USAID has done a wonderful job in this area, raising incomes of the poorest villagers through this activity.
About VisionFund Albania
VisionFund Albania is a micro-finance subsidiary of child hunger nonprofit World Vision International. Striving to improve child welfare, the organization offers a variety of loan products designed for rural, traditionally underserved clients and their families. These products include agriculture, business and household improvement loans, as well as "integration loans" targeted to help the poorest, most vulnerable Albanian households acquire value chain resources.
While VFA is focused on the empowerment of the poor overall, it pays special attention to women. About 60% of loans to entrepreneurs on Kiva go to women.