Shamal is a 20-year-old young, energetic Iraqi man. Since the age of 16, he has been working hard to help support his family and himself with a barber shop. He has been in business for four years.
Being so young himself, he has a great understanding of his young clientele and he has taken a modern approach to the traditional role of an Iraqi barber shop. With a keen eye for detail and style, he is eager to give his young clients a great experience in his shop.
Since the opening of the shop, the area of the city where it is located developed quickly, and is now one of the most popular shopping and entertainment areas in the city.
As the picture also shows, he has done a really good job of creating an attractive and clean barber shop, using all kinds of posters. Shamal took a loan from Relief International-Iraq in the amount of 1,200 USD to refurbish the salon in order to better keep up with the trends in the area, and be able to attract the new clients walking by his store, allowing him to grow and continue to give the help to his family they need.
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.