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Hannah is a camera-shy, truly ambitious businesswoman, and a unique lady in Iraq. She is 36 years old and for the past three years has been running a great fitness center for woman in a large city in North Iraq.

She has a degree from a technical institute and found her passion and source of income in creating a fitness center for woman--a fantastic business idea in a city where most fitness centers and gyms are open to men only with limited times and services allocated to women clients.

Her center is in a rented building, and she started it with an initial 20,000 dollar investment. The interior has recently undergone a nice renovation, and it is ready to reopen with freshly painted walls and a welcoming, pleasant atmosphere. Her current assets in the project are app. 27,000 dollars, and she has been able to hire three women as her employees to work in the center in various functions.

To complete the refurbishment of the center Hannah would like to buy some additional equipment to better accommodate her customers' needs during busy hours in the gym. She plans to buy treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes. Based on her plans, she applied for a SME loan* from Relief International Microfinance Iraq. Hannah sees the investment providing her with a 7% increase in her income.

Hannah is not only a great businesswoman, she is a wife and mother and a role model for many in her community.

*Relief International Microfinance Iraq provides qualified clients with a loan product specifically tailored for Small and Medium Enterprises (or SMEs).

Additional Information

More information about this loan

This loan is part of the WLIFT program (Women Leveraging the Internet for Financial Transformation), a partnership between Kiva, microfinance institution Relief International, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and the U.S. State Department. The program combines customized technical assistance with loans for women-owned small and medium enterprises in Iraq to help them grow, increase their profitability, and create more stable jobs in their communities.

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.

About Iraq

  • $7,100
    Average annual income
  • 0
    View loans »
    Iraq Loans Fundraising
  • $9,342,650
    Funds lent in using Kiva
  • US Dollars
    Loan transacted in USD

Success!! The loan was 100% repaid

A loan of $6,000 helped Hannah to buy an additional work-out machine for the women's fitness center.
100% repaid
Repayment Term
17 months (Additional Information)
Repayment Schedule
Apr 7, 2013
Apr 10, 2013
Currency Exchange Loss:
May 17, 2014