Thank you to each of you who placed a Father’s Day cards for a cause order this year and helped to fund 9 micro loans for these amazing dad entrepreneurs around the world: Ali, Muhannad, Yves, John, Athanase, Jose, Luis, Ion, and Vasile! Also, this year we were able to increase the amount of our microloans and contribute $50 to each one!
My favorite part about these loans is that as they are paid back, the funds can then be re-lent to another entrepreneur. I started funding microloans with Father’s Day cards back in 2013 and so far have been able to lend to 73 dads from 36 different countries! I always look forward to getting to do this each year and learning more about each dad’s story, goals, and dreams.
Please take a moment to learn more about this year’s father entrepreneurs and how you were able to help support their businesses!
Please meet Ali (pictured below, to the left)! He is 44 years old, a husband, father, and refugee and living with his family in Tulkarem, West Bank in Palestine. He is enthusiastic, active, a hard worker, and full of hope and energy. He recently opened a store selling electrical goods to help improve his family’s living standards. This loan will help Ali buy more electrical goods for his store. He thanks all the Kiva lenders for their help in advance.
This is Muhannad (pictured above, to the right), a 46 year old refugee living with his wife and children in Tulkarem, West Bank. He is the sole provider for his family and works hard to support his family. He has a stall for selling tools and home products. This loan will be used to buy new products for his stall which will increase his sales and improve his family’s living standards. Muhannad thanks all the Kiva lenders for their help!
This year I also wanted to learn more about the countries these men are from. Here are some things I learned about Palestine, where Ali and Muhannad currently live:
- The average annual income is $4,900
- 45% of land in the country is dedicated to growing olive trees–many trees are over 1000 years old!
- Maqluba is the national dish of Palestine. It consists of layers of rice, veggies, herbs, spices, and meat (although it can be made without). Maqluba means upside down and this layered dish is turned upside down before serving and garnished with pine nuts or chopped parsley.
- The dead sea is found in Palestine
- Palestine is known for some of the most beautiful wildflowers in the world, including irises, jonquils, and wild poppies.
The fathers I am going to introduce to you next all live and run their businesses in Rwanda.
Yves (pictured below, to the left) is a passionate entrepreneur and runs a grocery store in Mahama refugee camp, one of 6 in Rwanda. He has been living in Rwanda since fleeing violence in Burundi. Since 2015, he has steadily grown his business and now also runs a mobile money business. Yves has successfully paid off his first Kiva loan and is now applying for another to invest in float (electronic credits) to meet the demands of customers and increase his income. His business has helped him provide for his wife and children; he is also able to save for the future of his children so they can live a comfortable life. Yves says his business has changed his and his family’s life.
John (pictured above, to the right) is a father and owner of a mobile transaction business. In 2013, John and his family fled from violence in Congo due to political insecurity and resettled in one of Rwanda’s refugee camps. He quickly started his business to provide for his family and has a good reputation and strong base of loyal customers. John is requesting his loan to help grow his business by adding increasing his product line. This will offer his community more options and also give him the opportunity to build a better life for his family.
Please meet Athanase (pictured above)! He is an entrepreneur, husband, and father of 7 children living in one of Rwanda’s refugee camps. Like Yves, he left Burundi due to insecurity and resurgence of war in his community. He owns a general shop and now operates in over 7 different locations! He has strong business skills and really understands what his neighbors and fellow refugees want. He has successfully paid off a previous loan and is now applying for another to buy more food and supplies for his business to meet his customers’ demands and continue to grow. He hopes to become a business guru so that he can improve life for his family of 9. He has already shown great success in his business!
RWANDA, BURUNDI, CONGO
I wanted to read more about Yves, John, and Athanase home countries as well as Rwanda–these are a few facts I learned:
- Rwanda’s average annual income is $1,700
- Rwanda has the highest representation of women in parliament in the world–over 60% of parliament members are women
- Rwanda government has banned plastic bags/sachets to protect the environment
- Rwanda has introduced the use of drones in medical services like distributing blood to emergency stations
- Burundi runner, Venuste Niyongabo, won a gold medal in 1996 in the 5000 meter race. This was the first time in Olympic history that Burundi won a gold medal.
- Football (soccer) is the national sport of Burundi
- Burundi’s rainforests has housed one of the world’s biggest crocodiles
- Congo is also known as Republic of Congo, Congo Republic, West Congo, and Congo-Brazzaville
- Congo terrain includes plains and basins and a virtually uninhabited jungle in the north.
- The rainforest in the Congo Basin is the second largest in the world and home to many different animals including elephants, chimpanzees, and Mountain Gorillas
This is Jose (pictured below, to the left)! He is 44 years old, lives in San Luis de Since, Colombia, is father to a son, and works in the construction industry. For the past 18 years, he has tried to provide a stable life for himself and his family with his construction finishing business. Jose requested this loan to buy work tools and supplies such as blocks, cement, and sand. This will allow him to improve his sales and be more sustainable.
Luis (pictured above, to the right) lives in Chinu, Colombia, is 64 years old, and is happily married and father to 2 children who are his biggest motivation and inspiration. He is known in his community to be smart, responsible, determined, dedicated, and hardworking. He has a mechanic workshop and wants to be the best and take his business to the next level. He lives in a post-conflict town so it is not easy being an entrepreneur. Many businesses are also affected by the Corona Virus so this loan will help get them through this time. Luis will use his loan to buy glue and vehicle parts to keep his business going. His goal is to make sure his family has a bright future.
These are a few things I found out while reading more about Colombia:
- The annual average income in Colombia is $11,100
- The traditional national support of Colombia is Tejo, a team sport that involves launching objects at a target. The most popular sport is football (soccer). The national team won the 2001 South American Championship.
- Colombia is home to the Cano Cristales, the “River of Five Colors” or “Liquid Rainbow”. The river’s bed changes color between yellow, green, blue, black, and red during the end of July though November. I had never heard of this and had to find a video of it–it is stunning! Click here to head to the video.
- Age is valued in this country. Elders are deeply respected and the older a person gets, the more powerful their voice becomes.
- Bandeja Paisa is Colombia’s national dish and is made up of chorizo, minced meat, red beans, white rice, arepa, tomato-based sauce, fried eggs, fried pork, plantain, and a slice of avocado.
I’d like to introduce you to Ion (pictured below, to the left)! He is 46 years old, lives in Causeni, Moldova, is married, and has a beautiful family. Ion has an auto repair business–currently the first floor of his business provides car repair services and he would like to open a car parts shop on the second floor. He is applying for this loan to repair the room so he can make the shop a reality. Growing his business will help him bring in a better income for a better life.
Please meet Vasile (pictured above, to the right). He is 43 years old and a farmer. He is married with 3 children and lives with his family in Balanesti village in the Nisporeni region of Moldova. Vasile has been a farmer for a long time and grows corn, vines, and vegetables on his land. Part of the production feeds his family and another is sold at the market. He is requesting this loan to purchase seeds and fertilizers for the spring work so he and his family can process their land. This will give him the opportunity to get income to support his famiy.
I’ve heard of Moldova but I know nothing about it so I was excited to do some research. Here are a few facts about this country:
- The annual average income in Moldova is $3,800
- The national dish is Mămăligă , a porridge made out of yellow maize flour. It’s traditionally served as an accompaniment to stews and meat dishes, and is commonly garnished with cottage cheese, sour cream, or pork rind–here is a picture and recipe.
- According to the Guinness World Records, Moldova is home to the world’s largest wine cellar with nearly 2 million bottles of wine at the Mileștii Mici wine cellar.
- When entering someone’s home, it is considered impolite to leave your shoes on.
- Moldova is home to about 300 species of birds
All photos shown above are courtesy of Kiva.org.
I wish all these fathers the very best in their businesses! It is really inspiring to read of what they have already accomplished and I hope these loans help to bring them even more success!
Thank you again to every single person who made these loans possible and I hope all of the special men in your lives enjoyed their cards! I hope you enjoyed learning more about each loan recipient as well as the places where they are from! If you’d like to see all micro loans we have helped to fund since we started doing this, you can find Atiliay’s Kiva Profile here.
And if you feel inspired to make a loan of your own, it is very easy—head to Kiva.org to learn more. (If you do lend, please tell me about your entrepreneur!)