Bringing hope to Tajikistan with Arvand -- one success story at a time

Of all the 72+ countries Kiva works in every day, Tajikistan has a hard time standing out. Even though there are 190 borrowers looking for loans there right now. Even though it is technically the most impoverished country in Central Asia. Still, very few people are lending to Tajik borrowers. So we want to shed some light on why lending in this poor but culturally rich country is so important -- and this light is shining from one of our partners there, MDO Arvand, and the success stories it has seen.

Make a loan to a borrower in Tajikistan today and change a life!

Arvand is one of the leading microfinance institutions in Tajikistan, offering small loans to help borrowers start and grow their businesses. This is especially important in a country where over two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line, and the economy is supported by remittances sent from family members working abroad in Russia. Today, Arvand serves over 16,000 clients, helping them grow opportunities close to home so that families can stay together and their communities can thrive.

This is Dono Ernazarova.

On the cusp of turning 40, Dono is a warm, cheerful woman surrounded by family -- surprisingly optimistic for a woman who has worked so hard all her life. She's married, lives in a small village, and has always thought of herself as an entrepreneur. Even as a child, she loved to read and was thrilled by math. But when she graduated secondary school, he family -- like so many others -- couldn't afford to send her to college. Instead, they arranged for her to be married.

Life was good at first, but as Dono and her husband welcomed more children, money ran short. She had been a stay at home mom, but now she needed to jump into the workforce to supplement her husband's income. A testament to her entrepreneurial spirit, she started her very own business -- a small shop -- which soon became profitable. But she saw the opportunity to do more, and to build an even brighter future for her family. She didn't want to have to deny one of her own children the option of higher education. So, when she heard about Arvand through friends, she decided to take out a small loan to increase her inventory. That was nine years ago, and she's been working with Arvand ever since.

When she first started out, Dono sold only juices and yogurts in a cramped, rented stall. Most of what she earned she had to pay in rent and transportation. Over the years, loans have helped her buy her own small shop and diversify her inventory. Now she sells meats, vegetables, and fruit too. Today, her business is flourishing and she feels like she can give her children all of the resources and support they need to succeed in even bigger ways.

Dono has even become so successful that her husband helps out in her store, and only makes money doing a bit of carpentry on the side. Already, her children are enrolled in good schools in their community and she hopes they'll go off to university where they can choose and excel in careers of their own choosing. If they are anything like their mom, they're sure to be successful!

This is Yuldash Raimberdiev

At age 49, Yuldash is an honest and diligent family man. He's married with two daughters and two sons. He couldn't be more proud of each of them. Together, they make their family business run. Since 1995, Yuldash has been buying and selling construction materials. It all started with two bags of cement. He had to work his way up from there, slowly expanding and gaining customers. Still, no matter how hard he worked, there was never enough at the end of the day to give his family everything they needed. He wanted to send his kids to good schools, and promise them they'd never have to go hungry. 

16 years after starting his business, Yuldash heard about Arvand, and he eagerly applied for a loan. Today, he says he remembers getting that small sum as one of the happiest days of his life. Since then, he has taken out regular loans and repaid them on time to rapidly build his business. He owns his own shop, stocked with a range of building materials, and has hundreds of clients. Last year, his oldest son went off to college. His family has also been able to renovate their house and buy a car, making life just a little bit easier. Yuldash is so thankful for the support of Arvand and his lenders -- now he gets to make a living for his family and bring important services to his community.

MAKE A LOAN IN TAJIKISTAN TODAY. A little can go a long way.

About the author

Davinia Cogan

Over the past few years Davinia has hopped around the globe, living in Sydney, Paris, Kampala and London. Following four years of working in Investment Management in Australia, Davinia decided to put her finance skills to better use and moved to Uganda to start a social enterprise and farmer training program. She is particularly passionate about specialty coffee and worked closely with USAID in Rwanda to assess the economic impact of access to microfinance, training and coffee processing equipment in small coffee growing communities. Davinia has always been destined for an international career, having studied International Business and Finance as an undergraduate and completing an MA in International Relations at the University of Sydney. She also studied French language and culture at La Sorbonne, Paris and has travelled extensively throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the USA. Davinia recently completed an Internship at the Social Stock Exchange in London.