May 2, 2013 KV Kiva HQ
By Emily Wakefield
Passport Series: Borrower success stories from the Palestinian Territories
This Passport Series has focused on the unique challenges faced by Palestinian borrowers. With skyrocketing unemployment rates, creative entrepreneurialism becomes all the more important. 

Kiva is proud to provide capital to courageous, hardworking borrowers in this part of the world. So to conclude this Passport Series, we would like to share with you stories of four entrepreneurs who -- with Kiva lenders' help -- have found success in a place with limited economic opportunity. 

A 34-year-old father of one, Basel has a disability that impedes his ability to walk. Despite these extra challenges, he has established a successful and profitable kindergarten program in the West Bank. The school is the only source of income for Basel and his family, so he used a $3,000 Kiva loan to buy new, safe playground equipment -- improving the school's conditions and attracting more students. This is one of those amazing examples -- where a loan did so much more than help the borrower. The students also benefit from a better learning environment.



Ali is a married father of five from a village in the West Bank. Back in 2012, destructive storms and heavy winds destroyed a good portion of agricultural land in the region -- and subsequently Ali’s family’s livelihood.



Last May, he took out a $1,500 Kiva loan to restore his fields and plant new vegetables. Not only has it stabilized his financial situation, but his increase in profits enabled him to reinvest in new modern ways to increase his crop yield.

Mervat lives in Gaza with her three children. She opened her own accessories and gift shop back in 2008 but was not having much success. Last May, she took out a $1,500 Kiva loan to diversify inventory, buy a glass door, and decorate her shop to attract more customers and improve sales. Since then, business has picked up and she is reinvesting her profits into growing her shop to add more goods and meet her customers needs.



Msallam owns a small restaurant in the West Bank specializing in traditional humos and falafel -- the sole restaurant in his village. Before taking out his Kiva loan of $3,000, his restaurant was so small that it only had two tables. The loan allowed him to buy a refrigerator, add flooring, increase capacity, and add more tables to accommodate more customers and yield greater sales. His ultimate goal is to continue to grow his business so he can provide his two children with the best education possible.



Through our partners Ryada and FATEN in the Palestinian Territories, Kiva has made high-impact loans like these available to almost 3,000 Palestinian borrowers. 

Lend to a Palestinian borrower today! 

Have more questions about lending in Palestinian Territories? Send them our way at blog@kiva.org.


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A native of southern California, Emily is a recent graduate from Santa Clara University where she studied Economics and Spanish Studies. The highlight of her college experience was the semester she spent abroad in Granada, Spain. She knew she wanted to pursue a career in economic development after reading Half the Sky. Emily will be joining the Marketing and Communications team as a Blog and Social Media Intern and is especially excited to find new and creative ways to spread Kiva’s work to more people. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to country music, and re-watching Friends episodes for the millionth time. 

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