Sunday, July 19, 2015

July's KIVA Loan - Oxen in Armenia

Anahit and her granddaughter 
This month we make our 73rd KIVA loan. It goes to Anahit, who is from Lori Berd, a village of Lori region, Armenia. She lives with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. Her shy little granddaughter is in this photograph with her.

Anahit is a nurse by profession and works part time in the local clinic. She and her husband are among the many parents around the world who have to help their adult children care for and bring up their grandchildren. 

Anahit’s family has a small farm which requires a lot of hard labour and is not always profitable due to the many problems that can emerge on any farm, but which is especially challenging when the grinding amount of labour required to farm must be done entirely by hand. They don't even have an ox to pull the plow or transport feed or other heavy items. Currently they keep two cows, calves, a pig and some hens, but are limited in how many animals they can keep by the labour required to provide for them. As a result their income is also limited. 

Anahit manages to sell some meat, dairy products and eggs, to customers in their village, but to be able to increase their production and enrich their farm, Anahit has applied for a loan which the family will use to buy four oxen, which can be used to plow and do other heavy work the family finds extremely difficult or impossible. 

As this is Anahit's first loan, it has been approved within the framework of the joint initiative between KIVA and their field partner in Armenia SEF International. The first-chance loan program provides loans to people who didn't have access to credit before because they have no credit history. Through this joint initiative almost 500 borrowers like Anahit have gotten a chance to have their first loans and develop their businesses. This is Anahit's first loan with Kiva, and she hopes that the Kiva loan will bring success to her agricultural business.

SEF International is a microfinance subsidiary of World Vision International. It extends financial services to Armenian entrepreneurs to fund their small businesses and improve their lives. Through its partnership with Kiva, the organization is able to create sustainable jobs and build brighter futures for families and children.

The majority of SEF clients are located in Armenia’s poorest rural communities. Accordingly, the organization offers a variety of loan products for farmers, urban businesses, start up and non-formal businesses and consumers focused on improving quality of life for children.

From a social impact perspective, SEF has delivered visible results since its founding. In total, it has extended more than $74 million in loans to more than 74,000 clients. It has also created and sustained over 64,000 jobs and positively impacted 109,000 children.

When you think of the intensely hard work this couple, probably in their mid-to-late 50s and their son and his wife, endure to survive, it stirs a deep compassion in your heart. To be able to help lift that burden is a privilege offered by KIVA. And there are a thousand more hard-working women and men and families waiting for a hand up, not a hand out, just a loan which will come back to you. Bread cast on the water, comes back buttered with the satisfaction of knowing that it has helped lift someone out of poverty. Think about making a KIVA loan today. 

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