Not far from Naryn, a beautiful town in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, there is a little village, Kochkor, which is famous for its salt. Here lives Tursun Smanova, the leader of her borrowing group of four people.
And it is to Tursun and her three friends that we make our KIVA loan this month. We'd had some unexpected (large) expenses in January, and money is not falling from our pockets as we walk along, but I had a book order, which will offset the loan. So we loan away!
Tursun is a 64-year-old widow. She lost her husband 10 years ago; however, she has raised two children by herself. Her daughter is 12 and she goes to the local school. Her son graduated from the university and now helps his mother fatten and then sell sheep.
About 10 years ago after her husband's death she decided she could not just give up the future of her children and let life decide what to do with them. So she bought five lambs to fatten and sell. She was successful and now continues in that business. Now she and her son earn about $113 per month. Their lives are better than before and she is planning to expand her business and buy a car in the future. She asked for a loan of about $112 which she will use to buy more lambs.
The second member of the group is Asel Alapaeva. She is 40 years old and married. She has a daughter who is 11 and in fourth grade. Her son who is 10 years old is in third grade. Her husband works as a builder whose salary per month is $115.00. About six years ago, she started a little business where she sells cattle in the local market. They are building a new house, which will be finished in the future. However, they want get a loan to buy four calves to raise as breeding stock, because cattle sell well in the market right now.
The third group member is Elmira Andagulova. She is 45 and has a daughter who is 16. Her daughter helps her mother after school. Her husband works as a builder and earns $115.00 per month. Seven years ago, Elmira began a business. She sells staple foods, products that are used daily. Her profit is about $150.000 per month. Her business is growing and the income has improved her family's well being. With her loan, she wants to buy 100 kg of sugar, different cereals, vegetable oil and other staple goods.
The fourth member of the group is Musa Kurmanov, a 56-year old man whose wife is on a pension. He began this business three years ago. He raises calves and sells them at the market, earning about $90.00 a month. He is going to expand his business by increasing the size of his herd. With the loan he wants to buy a bull.
In a group loan, members know each other well, and trust each other. Each member of the group receives an individual loan but is bound by a group guarantee. Under this arrangement members of the group support one another and are responsible for paying back the loans of their fellow group members if someone is delinquent or defaults.
This is our eighth KIVA loan, and all lenders are making their repayments on time. This means that each month the payments are put into our KIVA account, and we may choose to withdraw or reloan the money. To this point we have reloaned it as it has come back. So the money we loaned is being recycled as it were, and is going back out as new loans.