Though she holds a diploma in Computer sciences, Raghad could not open a business matching her academic background due to challenges she faced in her conservative community whose restrictions limited her to fields of business traditionally designated for women. Raghad faced the same challenges when she accompanied her husband to work in Libya. But, Raghad’s dynamic personality and eagerness to work helped her rise above these challenges. She taught in kindergartens for five years while she lived in Libya which equipped her with valuable experience and skills.
Building upon her experience and entrepreneurial spirit, Raghad opened a private kindergarten three years ago with very little money and support from her husband. Today, her successful business of six classes employs 12 women and generates enough income to support her family and improve their living conditions.
Her growing business and willingness to learn and develop her business skills qualifies her to participate in the WLIFT program and take a SME loan from Relief International Microfinance Iraq in the amount of 10,000 USD. Raghad is responding to her clients’ demand and increasing the number of classes; therefore, she plans to completely renovate her kindergarten by building a second floor and adding a play and exercises hall, thus creating job opportunities for members of her community and extra income to support her family.
Based on the political and social challenges of lending in Iraq, personally identifiable information about this borrower has been altered for her protection. RI-Iraq appreciates Kiva lenders' consideration of these challenges and encourages lenders to continue supporting Iraqi borrowers.
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.
This loan is to a borrower who faces unique economic challenges due to the ongoing conflict in Iraq, as they live in an area that continues to be affected by the political and economic obstacles in the country.
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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This loan has been fully funded!