The Giordano Dell’Amore Foundation announced on November 8th, during the Annual Conference of the European Microfinance Network hold in Bucharest, the institution KosInvest has been awarded as winner of the fourth edition of the “Giordano Dell'Amore Microfinance Good Practices Europe Award”, realized in collaboration with the European Microfinance Network.
After double tragedies, a loan gives Abdyl’s family a second lease on life
Abdyl, a father of five was struck by two traumatic catastrophes within a year that his family homeless, without employment or any stable income. When he heard about KosInvest and applied for his first loan (which he used to buy a cow), things started to turn around.
Abdyl, 48,and his family live in small village of northern Kosovo called Zagorie. This is where, he has always lived. In this type of village, it is easy to feel isolated as the homes are far apart and there are very few shops and markets nearby. There are few roads that lead to their home and it is a 30-minute walk from the nearest “main road” to Abdyl’s family’s home. Their house is quiet and peaceful; it is surrounded by nature and open spaces. But, there is also an abundance of empty and abandoned homes throughout the village as well – a clear, visible and daily reminder of effects of the war in Kosovo between 1998 and 1999,after which many Serbian minority families and communities in Kosovo left and have never returned.
The war not only left physical damage on the countryside, it also left the holes in the economy as well, as the migration left areas (especially in the country) with few economic or business opportunities or even customers. To try to provide for his family, including his wife and five children, Abdyl was working for a private construction company in 2009 when the first of two tragedies struck his family; his eldest son, who was 15 at the time, shot and killed himself.
The tragic loss drastically affected his wife, Vjollca. As a result of the stress, she developed diabetes and was no longer able to care for their four surviving children. Abdyl quit his job in construction, which to that point had provided a meagresurvival for his family, in order to be able to be near his children and his wife and try to provide for their physical as well as emotional needs. Just when it appeared that things could not get any worse, they did. An electrical fire destroyed and all their possessions. Fortunately, a humanitarian organization built them another home. Abdyl started to plant corn to feed his family and sell. He also started cutting and selling wood to others to develop an income. With a new home and some work things were better, but Abdyl was still not able to feed his family or comfortably provide for any of their other needs. I was very poor and my family was living in bad conditions,” remembers Abdyl.
In 2010, things began to improve again after Abdyl heard about KosInves and the opportunities that microfinance offer to people living in rural communities. He decided to take out loan of 900 Euros to buy a cow that he could use the milk and various milk products, such as cheese, yogurt, butter and cream for his family and to sell for profit at the markets in the city.
Within a short time, his family’s situation began to improve. He was able to sell 25 litres of milk weekly, at the price of 0.50 Euro per litre. Between the cow, the corn and wheat and the firewood for the first time in more than a year, Abdyl was able to provide directly to his family’s nourishment and warmth. They were also finally able to have enough money for plentiful food. His children were also in dire need of new clothing to protect them from the cold and improve their self-esteem.“The loan has improved our lives for which we are very thankful,” he remembers.
Earlier this year, after realizing the benefits and profits made possible from KosInvest loans, Abdyl decided to take a second loan in order to continue to improve his family’s living conditions and to invest into further expanding his agricultural businesses. With his second loan of 1,300 Euros, he purchased: four sheep, four goats and one chicken. Goat milk and products are more expensive than those products made from cow’s milk, so he has been able to earn even more income and further improve his family’s living situation by selling the goats milk for 2 Euro a litre.
Thanks to his increased income, he has been able to purchase new furniture for their home, kitchen equipment and appliances as well start saving for his children’s education. In the future, Abdyl is planning to raise and breed the goats and sheep so that he can not only increase the milk and milk products from them, but also sell the animals at the market, for even more money. He hopes that with this additional expansion of his businesses and income that he will be able to provide his children with a better education that is offered in the city so that they can have a much better future and opportunities.
Both of the loans, the original one for the cow and the second one for the additional farm animals, have changed the lives of Abdyl’s family by adding income for more and better quality food at a time when they were barely able to have any food on their table, eating minimally and with poor nourishment. They have been able to purchase new and acceptable clothing to replace their worn out and damaged clothes so that the children could feel pride and respectable as they went to school, as well as provide warmer clothing for the winter so they would not get sick. With the new furniture and kitchen appliances, he was able to create a comfortable living environment for his family to thrive in and make their living and household chores easier on them.
Additionally, and perhaps the most remarkable improvement from the benefits from his two loans and the income he was able to generate, are the improvements in his wife’s health and conditions. She has noted that she has been able to see a clear difference in her health likely a result in the decrease in her stress and anxiety. Thanks to these loans she has been able to start to care for her family again and feel much better. “The loan saved me and my family. I’m thankful that the loan has helped me to now have different food, heating and I’m able to generate more income. I am very happy for this opportunity, which has saved my life,” says Abdyl. He also notes that microfinance really saves and improves the lives for those living in rural areas more than any bank or traditional loan ever could. With a bank, his lack of employment or savings would not allow for him to take a loan or give him any opportunities to try to improve his conditions. Microfinance gives to him what he needs and provides him opportunities that he would not otherwise have.
Abdyl is one that clients were has been helped assisted by microfinance and has improved his family situation and welfare for his family. Abdyl’s wife says “Now we have managed to improve the living conditions thanks to the help of KosInvest. Now we don’t have problems for food and I’m able to serve the different food to my children, and I don’t have a problem to purchase my medicine.” In the near future Abdyl is planning to purchase a vehicle to drive his children to school so that they do not have to walk more than 30 minutes in each direction, especially in poor weather conditions. This will be another improvement in their quality of life that they are looking forward to and could never have imagined in their lives before the loans. Their future is now bright and filled with hope thanks to KosInvest.