Ahmed KhanWith meager savings and a big dream of starting life anew for his family, Ahmed Khan returned to Kandahar from neighboring Quetta, Pakistan, in 2008. Ahmed was aware that his return had some risks, not just from the occasional fighting and violence in the city, but more so on the scant livelihood opportunities waiting for him. With his skills in tailoring, he planned to open a tailoring business in his home. However with only minimal savings, he was unable to buy the most basic equipment for a tailoring shop.
A friend referred him to the Kandahar IIFC, where Ahmed was able to take out a loan for 25,000 Afghanis (approximately $500) to purchase a sewing machine and some raw materials such as cloth and thread. Ahmed then opened his tailoring shop, specializing in making curtains.
People in his village took notice of Ahmed's skilled work and his clientele grew rapidly. Ahmed soon realized he would need more capital to expand his shop. Through the Kandahar IIFC, Ahmed took out two more loans to purchase better quality raw materials, advertise his services on local radio and TV stations and eventually hire two employees to ensure that orders could be delivered on time.
Today, Ahmed and his family not only enjoy a more comfortable life but also find satisfaction in providing employment opportunities at the burgeoning tailoring shop to his fellow Afghans.
MalikaMalika, 49, is an Afghan widow and mother of three who farms to support her family. Due to a nearly decade long conflict and lack of attention from former governments, Kandahar has grown increasingly more conservative. Women here are marginalized and constitute the most vulnerable of the population.
She owns a two-hectare tract of farming land, a great portion of which had remained stagnant because she could not afford to irrigate and fertilize it. After becoming a member of Maiwand branch, Malika applied for a loan worth 25,000 Afghanis (US$500) to purchase fertilizer and fuel for her farming generator so that she could tend to the idle portion of her farm. With the credit union loan, she was able to plant various crops such as watermelon, mint, onions, tomatoes, okra, pepper and other kinds of vegetables where the land was previously barren. Now Malika supplies vegetables to vendors in the bazaar and earns more money for her family's needs.