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Bekhal is a true model of a persistent, self-made Iraqi woman. A 48 year old mother, she took over the prime responsibility of raising her teenage son after her divorce 15 years ago. Following her divorce Bekhal’s work as school clerk did not provide enough income to cover her and her son’s expenses. To supplement her income, she worked in the evenings for almost three years, making handicrafts and knitting wool to provide an extra income. When she realized that this extra income would not cover the increasing expenses of her growing son, she decided to build on her old hobby of hair dressing and open her own beauty salon.

Although she was faced with many difficult challenges, including a lack of capital, Bekhal refused to give up. She worked in a salon for two years learning her trade and saving money. Over time, she saved enough to attend professional training in Turkey and finally opened her own salon in 2004. Though she remembers the difficult times she faced, Bekhal is proud of her achievements and has become a strong entrepreneur who has been able to prove her worth to her family and her society.

Through the creation of her salon, Bekhal was able to create two job opportunities for other community members and expects to increase her number of employees as her business develops. Her growing business and willingness to cultivate her occupational skills qualified her to participate in the WLIFT program and take an SME loan from Relief International Microfinance Iraq in the amount of 12,000 USD. With this money, Bekhal hopes to expand her business by purchasing additional equipment that will improve her clients’ experience, including massage chairs; manicure and pedicure tools and equipment; and furniture.

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
Paying Back

This loan has been fully funded!

A loan of $12,000 helped Bekhal to expand her business by purchasing additional equipment that will improve her clients’ experience, including massage chairs; manicure and pedicure tools and equipment; and furniture.
52% repaid
Repayment Term
26 months (Additional Information)
Repayment Schedule
Jun 10, 2014
Jul 11, 2014
Currency Exchange Loss: