Investing in Women, Investing In Families: Meet July's Kiva Entrepreneur, the site we use to make ‘loans that change lives’, has recently had a bit of an update- it looks great, is even easier to use and has new header sections for each borrower type, providing would-be lenders with even more compelling reasons to get involved.

Why do we mention this? Well, it’s not just to pat Kiva on the back for a job well done (although that’s always nice too!) It’s because of something we read in one of those re-vamped header sections.

On average women reinvest 80% of their income in the wellbeing of their children.

This so forcefully brought home to us the value of investing in women as a means of investing in the future, and as one of the most powerful means of effecting change in a society.

We had intended to lend to a woman in July to re-balance our recent lending to men, but we were particularly inspired to do so in light of this fact.

The recipient of our loan this month is Umeda, a widowed woman from Panjakent, Tajikistan. She is seeking a loan of $650 (around 5100 Tajikistani Somoni) to replace her broken sewing machine in order to continue her business, which supports her two children.

Having completed a course in sewing, Umeda has been making her living by doing so for an incredible thirty years.

She loves her work and has regular customers who do too. This long-established business cannot continue without a sewing machine she can rely on.

The economic climate in her country is precarious to say the least. It is heavily dependent on Russia for oil, gas and security. More than a million Tajiks, mainly men, have left the country to work abroad, largely in Russia. Over a third of the remaining population are employed in agriculture, mainly women undertaking back-breaking cotton picking. Only a fifth are engaged in industry.

For Umeda, being part of that small minority is incredibly valuable.

A huge proportion of Tajikistan’s population is under 14 years of age. Unicef have reported that the impact upon children of living in a country with effectively no adult men is severe, with girls becoming depressed and withdrawn, and boys becoming aggressive. Interest in radical forms of Islam among Tajik youth is reportedly on the increase.

The 80% of Umeda’s income which will be re-invested in her children’s wellbeing is so important.

We are delighted to help Umeda raise the vital funds to continue her business, and we hope you will feel similarly inspired to do so here-

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