Self-confident and supported by her family, Lamia has successfully penetrated the male-dominated business world in her conservative community. Using market knowledge from her husband, who previously worked in a furniture store, she knew that there was a great demand for furniture in their area.
Lamia is determined to succeed despite the many challenges she is facing, such as competition and lack of skilled labor and capital. Nevertheless, she is proud of her business and achievement. She regularly attends international specialized exhibitions and deals with suppliers directly, which have made her a stronger entrepreneur. Lamia’s business has been steadily growing, attracting new clients and adding new products. Moreover, she employs 13 members of her community, which she expects to increase as her business grows.
Her 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 12,000 USD. With the loan she plans to purchase wood and fabrics in addition to opening new production lines.
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!