News reports about Iraq are dominated by talk of conflict, bombings, casualties, and more conflict. But through the tragedy, there is hope. We are so inspired by the Iraqi women entrepreneurs who are taking out loans through Relief International, and are intent on bringing improvements and services to their communities regardless of the circumstances.
Meet Meada. She is an incredible woman taking steps to make life for Iraqi victims of violence a bit more bearable.
A wife and mother of four, Meada owns a prosthetic limbs manufacturing business in Iraq. She provides prosthetic limbs that help people with severe injuries regain the independence and way of life they once enjoyed. Her products let people who have been physically scarred in war torn areas resume their daily lives, continue working, and complete their education.
It’s not easy… materials are expensive and rent is high. As an Iraqi woman, Meada has overcome gender inequality and the discouraging skepticism that results when a woman tries to start her own business.
Despite the obstacles, Meada is very successful. She recently took out a $7,000 loan to update her manufacturing equipment and buy raw materials. She has already paid back over half of the loan! The most recent violence has not reached her area, so her business has been able to continue and stay active.
Relief International serves Iraqi women’s needs and helps them to overcome the obstacles of starting a business with the program WLIFT: Women Leveraging the Internet for Financial Transformation. The program combines microfinance services with business/technical training to help women help themselves and their communities.
WLIFT empowers women to develop the confidence and skills necessary to run a business, employ others, and grow local economies. The program also gives women, who may otherwise feel alone, a network of successful colleagues and mentors. These women use their increased incomes wisely; they are likely to put up to 80% of it toward their children and families. They also commonly hire other women employees which continues to strengthen the power, voice and independence of Iraqi women.
You can learn more about WLIFT here, and you can play a role in supporting women around the world by making a loan to a woman borrower today>