Fatima H. is 55-year-old married woman who owns her small business in the southern part of Azerbaijan, Bilasuvar region. She an is internally displaced person from occupied Jabrail region who fled to Bilasuvar during the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict in 1993. Fatima started her business in 1994. She purchased her first calf, raised it and sold for a higher price. Fatima used to have a milking cow also and she sold dairy products such as milk and yoghurt to the local people But the cow become ill and passed away. Recently Fatima purchased one calf, which soon will grow up to be a milking cow.
Fatima has large family, two sons and one daughter. The level of their life is hard to call even normal. They are close to misery. Fatima is trying to find ways to change the situation and one decision was apply for a loan and expand her business. She applied for 800 USD with repayment term of 15 months to purchase three calves; two baby calves each for 250 USD and one middle size calf for 300 USD.
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.