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Experiencing first hand a community level problem effecting many families, Shireen turned a personal need into an enterprise.

In 2003, working as a teacher herself, Shireen had work commitments until 5pm but was unable to find day care for her young child. The few government provided facilities were inadequate, crowded and would only be open until 1pm – leaving many families in deadlock when choosing between mothers working or staying at home.

With very little money, no support, and many challenges Shireen took matters into her own hands and decided to open a private kindergarten and day care center. While many people would not believe in her potential for success and commented the opening with sour words, she had proved them wrong. The small endeavor had since outgrown its original location and since 2009 operates from 3 small locations – one of which is shown on the pictures.

Shireen now has 10 years experience with managing kindergartens, and 19 years experience as a teacher. She is a mother of two children, but through her business takes care of 200 children with the help of 60 employees. As she explains in the video: “My name is Shireen, owner of this kindergarten which was established in 2003. I established the Kindergarten because when I had my baby I didn't find a place to put her in during my work as a teacher until 5:00 pm. It was the first private Kindergarten in the area. Now there are 60 women working in my Kindergartens and 5 drivers, we created jobs for 60 women. Now we have 200 kids. The Kindergarten work starts beginning of September 2013.”

Shireen works with a small profit margin to ensure her kindergarten’s services are affordable for working families. Continuing to provide services with a high level of attention to details Shireen is taking an SME loan from Relief International Microfinance Iraq in the amount of $25,000 which she will use to install a fire alarm system, fix water pipes, and renew some of the furnishing and carpeting as required by local regulations.

Shireen would one day like to also open an orphanage to provide care and education for children most in need.

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 $25,000 helped Shireen to install a fire alarm system in the kindergarten.
100% repaid
Repayment Term
26 months (Additional Information)
Repayment Schedule
Aug 20, 2013
Oct 16, 2013
Currency Exchange Loss:
Oct 1, 2015