An update from Rubelyn Lumanta in the Philippines

Rubelyn with her two children

Rubelyn with her two children

Milena, a Kiva Fellow volunteering in the Philippines sent us an update from Rubelyn, one of our entrepreneurs, who lives on a tiny island called Nuc Nucan.

Reaching Rubelyn was an unforgettable experience. First, we took a 45 minute boat ride from the mainland. We arrived on an island surrounded by seaweed farms and weathered boats. Most people on the island work at night, so during the afternoon they socialize, sing at videoke bars, or relax in the countless hammocks that line the narrow streets.
There are no cars or bicycles on this island; people walk, and the “streets” are narrow pathways of sand lined by houses and shops. The island is vibrant. To get to Rubelyn, we had to maneuver through a maze of children, music, and shops smelling of roasted fish.

Rubelyn lives in a small house located right on the beach. She was shy to talk to me, and preferred speaking through a translator. She confirmed that she is a fish buyer. She purchases fish from local fishermen, and either sells them in Nuc Nucan or at the Bohol mainland.

The loan helped her to buy fish in bulk and at a better rate, and she used the extra profits to pay for the daily expenses of her family. She has two children, both of which are shown in the picture.

An update from Mirzaeva Kumri in Tajikistan

Mirzaeva in her shop

Mirzaeva in her shop

Mirzaeva Kumri is 53 years old. She is married and the loving mother of four children. Kumri owns a successful clothing and shoe sales business located at the Sakhovat market in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. She has been doing this business for about 13 years.

Her business has benefited from a good sales location and constant demand for her products. Kumri tries to offer good prices to her customers while still making a profit. A normal monthly income from her business is around 1500 Somoni.

A couple of months back, Kumri has requested a loan of 2500 Somoni (US$750) for a term of nine months to increase her product inventory. At that time, the cold season was coming and everyone was preparing for winter season. By purchasing additional inventory, Kumri was better prepared to meet increased demand and earn a good income.

I just received this update:

Mirzaeva proved to be a very responsible borrower. She made all of her payments on time and has been improving the amount of inventory she carries.
Kumri is a very hard worker and has efficiently used her loan to grow her business. She tells us she has a larger client base and her clients purchase from her more often due to the variety she offers.

Mirza paid back her loan for 100%, and within the agreed timeframe

An update from Arlene Damas in the Philippines

Arlene in her food stall

Arlene in her food stall

One of the first loans we made almost a year ago, was to Arlene in the Philippines where she runs a food stall, a carinderia.

Here is the update I received:

Arlene Damas grew up in Butuan City, which is in the Caraga Region of the Philippines. She now lives in the town of Lopez Jaena in the Misamis Occidental province with her husband Severino and their three children. They met each other when they were working in Manila City. When they decided to marry, they agreed to live in Severino’s hometown. Arlene’s primary income is from her “carinderia,” a mini eatery. Severino is a carpenter.

Arlene is one of the pioneer Paglaum Coop members. She joined when the program was introduced in Lopez Jaena in 1997. She has taken out five loans with this group.

Arlene lives near Mindanao State University-Lopez Jaena, which offers classes from the primary grades through high school. Many of her customers are students, teachers, and fisherfolks.

With her loan, Arlene increased her food supplies, bought a door lock for the carinderia and a refrigerator so she won’t have to rent a freezer from her neighbor anymore.

Her loan is now 95% repaid.

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