Thursday, August 23, 2007

Micro-loan migration

Check out this article about Katrin Fakiri (right), not long ago "a single woman climbing the corporate ladder in the Silicon Valley," California's high-tech region, who returned to her birthplace, Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2002. There Fakiri directs Parwaz Microfinance Institution, which gives women micro-loans to set up small businesses. The number of beneficiaries is not small at all: Named for the Dari word meaning "to rise" or "to fly," Parwaz "offers an estimated 9,000 poor women small loans at 2 percent interest," Fariba Nawa (left), herself an Afghan-American freelance journalist, writes in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Today Fakiri's married and the mother of a young son. She's stayed on even after stepped-up violence drove other expats out of Afghanistan, and she'd rather not leave:
'In the beginning, I didn't think women would be able to open businesses and be able to pay back the loan,' Fakiri said. 'But about 98 percent are paying off their loans. If the security is good, I could stay here forever.'

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