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From Refugee to Job-Creator

Shakila is a 30-year old married woman living with her husband and three children in Mazar city of Balkh province, with two school going children.

During the war, Shakila’s family migrated to Iran and when the situation improved, they returned to Afghanistan. Shakila got married in Kabul and then moved back to her native city of Mazar. She was not willing to migrate to other countries anymore and would prefer to continue with her business in her own country where there are more opportunities for women to start or expand their businesses.

Shakila is living in a village where there are very few people that have their own capital to invest in business. People mostly borrow to start or expand a business. She also didn’t have enough capital to expand her tailoring business and was looking for a loan when she heard about microfinance services from her friends and relatives.

Shakila applied for a loan from The First Microfinance Bank (FMFB) and was approved for an AFN 10,000 loan. She used this money to purchase three sewing machines to add to her own. With four sewing machines for her business, Shakila then trained and hired 18 girls for her business.

Shakila has now been a client of FMFB for the past six years. She received five loan cycles of AFN 10,000, AFN 30,000, AFN 50,000, AFN 50,000, and AFN 150,000. Most of the capital was invested in expanding the business, purchasing machines and raw materials. She also spent part of the money on opening a grocery shop close to their house.

Before borrowing from FMFB, Shakila was already able to generate AFN 1,000 monthly, and now she has a monthly income of AFN 10,000. Their household expenses doubled from AFN 3,000 to AFN 6,000, but her income also allows her to invest in her children’s education. In addition, she is able to save AFN 4,000 every month.

Shakila’s successful businesses has had a positive impact on her neighbors and friends, some of who have also borrowed from MFIs to open tailoring shops and beauty parlors, as well as receiving approval for loans for housing and poultry.

Shakila is looking forward to establishing a manufacturing business, which she projects will create job opportunities for other women who will help her produce more to meet the growing demand of customers.