Qıztamam R. is 50-year-old widow who has sold women's shoes in the streets of Imishli for the past three years. When her husband passed away, Qıztamam and her son were left without any means of surviving. With her son studying at the university, selling shoes is the family's only source of income. Qıztamam tries very hard to succeed, but she cannot pay rent and has to stay in the street selling her goods even if it is snowing or raining. Luckily, the owner of the shop next to her display, which is one of the biggest stores in town, allows her to keep her goods in his shop for the night. Qıztamam would like to enlarge her business and purchase additional shoes to sell. She believes one day she could rent a good place in the central market. Qıztamam is counting on your help.
Aqroinvest Credit Union was founded in 2001 by a group of 32 farmers from Imishli. It has since grown to become the largest credit union in Azerbaijan, owned by its more than 5,400 borrowers and boasting a portfolio of nearly US$12 million.
AqroInvest is focused on providing loans to the following groups of people: rural farmers, people living in distant southern villages with little or no access to finance and internally displaced people and refugees, many of whom lost their homes and livelihoods during the violent conflicts in the 1990s.
In May 2011, Aqroinvest started a new project with Kiva proving higher education loans to students. The project gives students the support and financing they need to continue their education and helps pay for tuition fees at various universities in Azerbaijan. Aqroinvest is the first credit union in the country to offer students loans.