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Shukria is an incredibly hard working Iraqi woman who has built a business from scratch against all odds using the ingredients of ambition, will, and basic skills.

With 20 years experience as a professional, Shukria remembers when she fell in love with sewing, tailoring and embroidery. As a little girl she would make clothes for her dolls. With this love and passion she developed her skills and became a professional seamstress. With skill, passion, and ambition she grew the business and currently employs 3 other seamstresses. It is also used as a facility to train other women who would like to learn and work in this sector.

At the start of the business she faced many challenges; one of the biggest ones was the high rent of shops, but with a little creativity and a lot of work, she managed to find an interesting solution. She rented a property from the government for 25 years and had a modest, but sufficient, building built on it, which is perfectly suitable for the sewing workshop.

Her creativity, dedication and potential for continued growth qualifies her to participate in the WLIFT training program and to take an SME loan from Relief International Microfinance Iraq. She would like purchase additional, high quality embroidery machines which will enable her to provide a new set of services and deliver more competitive products.

As she explains with their own words: I’m Shukria. I’ve been a tailor for 20 years. I want to develop my business and improve my factory. With the help of Relief International, I will advance my business. I will purchase good quality embroidery machines to improve my services. Now I have three female workers with me, and, with God’s will, the number of workers will increase to more than seven, as I have a big space and five sewing machines.

Shukria is a member of the industry union and constantly keeps an eye on the type of services in demand. The in-demand embroidery is one of these services she has learned about and would like to add to improve her business opportunities.

Shukria is 45 years old. She is a widow and a mother of 2 children whom she is supporting and raising alone – showing a great example to all children in the neighborhood about what hard work can achieve. She is well respected, and although she did not receive a formal education, she has had a lifelong learning experience and has become a business woman with sustainable income.

She would like to continue to grow, increase her income and continue to be a respected valuable member of her community.

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 $5,000 helped Shukria to purchase embroidery machines and hire more women to work in the workshop.
100% repaid
Repayment Term
20 months (Additional Information)
Repayment Schedule
Dec 3, 2013
Jan 2, 2014
Currency Exchange Loss:
Aug 22, 2015