Ajhan is a vibrant 41-year-old woman who has a big proud smile on her face as she shows her home in Iraq. She created and maintains a beautiful living space for her and her two children whom she is raising alone since her husband died. Since then she had to work twice as hard to create a respected social status.
At the end of the hallway is a separate room for her sewing, tailoring work. She developed her small business slowly, but the 20 years of experience shows in her work and in her positive attitude.
She has and she will continue to work hard to make sure she can secure a great future for her children, and provide them the necessary means for a good education.
Ajhan has successfully applied, received and repaid three consecutive loans in the past from Relief International-Iraq - each she used to step-by-step build up her equipment and workspace. She now took a loan of 1700 USD from RI-Iraq in order to purchase more fabric and raw materials and other small items to advance her workspace and advance her business.
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.