Sima is the managing partner of a beauty salon that she owns in partnership with her brother. A salon is one of the few types of socially acceptable businesses for females to own and operate in her community, and one of several in Sima’s town. Despite the restrictions and competition, Sima’s eagerness and assertiveness has quickly made her salon one of the most famous beauty salons in her town.
Though she is young, she takes her business seriously, as it is the main source of income for her family, and most importantly, the only source of income to cover her tuition and expenses at the university. In addition to providing for her and her family, her business provides employment to five individuals, four of whom are women.
Eventually, Sima hopes to have a chain of beauty salons that extend beyond her own community. Until then, she continues to expand her salon. As a growing business with high potential, Sima has qualified for a WLIFT loan in the amount of 20,000. With these funds, Sima plans to expand her salon’s space and services to include anti-aging treatments and massage therapy. She predicts that this expansion will allow her to reach 5-10% more customers, increasing her income and stability.
As a participant in the WLIFT program, Sima is participating in the modular business training offered by the program and will also participate in one-on-one coaching as well as be connected to a business mentor. An entrepreneur who is under the age of 30, Sima also qualifies for the youth loan category on the Kiva platform.
More information about this loan
This loan to a borrower under age 30 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 IraqRelief 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.
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