Sport for Sirnak - Meet our Kiva Entrepreneur for February

There are a lot of reasons to love, the organisation we use to make our monthly ‘loans that change lives.’

Aside from the obvious - that it’s a spectacular platform for enabling entrepreneurs without access to traditional banking systems to fulfil their potential- it is also an exceptionally enjoyable and logical site for users to navigate.

Since our last loan Kiva have made a few more updates, including a new ‘lending stats’ section, enabling us to see at a glance which countries and types of activity we have and haven’t contributed to so far. This is an invaluable tool for us to make sure our lending is balanced across the widest possible variety of borrowers.

As a result, our entrepreneur for February is from both a country and a sector new to us. She is Berna from Sirnak, Turkey and she is seeking a loan of $12,375 through Kiva field partner B-FIT in order to open her own sports centre for women.

We all know that exercise is good for us, and that the benefits extend far beyond the purely physical. As The Women’s Sports Foundation notes:

1) Girls and women who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression.

2) Girls and women who play sports have a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not play sports.

Sport has long been recognised as a source of vital social and cultural experiences for men and boys. It is high time these benefits were equally afforded to women all over the world.

The region Berna lives in, situated close to Turkey’s border with both Syira and Iraq, has had a troubled time of late. It has suffered violence and unrest as a result of both the so-called Islamic State and Kurdish militant groups. As Berna puts it, “women who live here…are stuck at home…they need to move on and recover.”

This is where B-FIT comes in. They offer 0% interest loans to women across rural Turkey in order for them to purchase their own sports franchise. They provide the training and skills needed for women like Berna to go on and support a wider female community within the safe space of their own sports centre.

There is so much good that comes of enterprises like Berna’s.

1) She herself is empowered as a business owner in a country that is still hugely patriarchal and repressive towards women.

2) She is able to help other women to increase their physical activity, and enjoy the well-documented mental benefits that go hand in hand with doing so.

3) Berna’s B-FIT centre won’t only provide sports facilities - she plans to offer seminars on topics relevant to the women who go there, and fundraising events for the wider community.

This is so much more than a loan to your average gym, a place to go for a weekly work out in order to shed a few pounds or gain some muscle. A B-FIT centre in Sirnak, run by someone like Berna who knows the challenges facing those who live there every day, will provide positivity and healing for women at a time when they need it most.

We are delighted to help Berna with this project - if you feel similarly inspired by her story, you can lend to her too by following this link.

PS - Do you remember Kiva’s mission to fund $1 million in loans to women for International Women’s Day 2016? (You can read our post about it here.)

Well this year, they’re aiming even higher, with a target of $3 million in the first week of March. You can watch their video which explains what you can do to make this week count by clicking here.

About the Author: Alice Perry

Alice Perry

Alice is Inkspiller’s project manager. She oversees all that we do, and thinks there is no task that can’t be improved by the making of a bulleted list.

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