The Giordano Dell’Amore Foundation announced on November 8th, during the Annual Conference of the European Microfinance Network hold in Bucharest, the institution KosInvest has been awarded as winner of the fourth edition of the “Giordano Dell'Amore Microfinance Good Practices Europe Award”, realized in collaboration with the European Microfinance Network.
Microfinance eradicate poverty
Abdyl, father of 5 children had been struck with two traumatic catastrophes within a short period of time, leaving his family homeless, poor and him without any stable employment. Things were difficult for him and his family and their future was dark. After hearing about Kosinvest, Abdyl made the decision to purchase a cow to start selling the milk and milk products as well as use for his family’s consumption. He has since taken out another loan and between the two loans, he has been able to see his family’s living standards improve his wife’s health become better and his hope for his family’s future become bright.
Abdyl is one of Kosinvest’s loyal clients. At 48 years old, he and his family live in one of the smaller villages of Kosovo named Zagorie, in the northern part of Kosovo where very few families live. In this type of village, one gets the feeling that it they are the only ones living there as the homes are further apart and there is very little shops and markets nearby. The roads leading to their home are few and if you were to walk from the main road, it would take 30 minutes to approach their home. It is quiet and peaceful there, with much nature and open space, but there are also abandoned and empty homes throughout the village as well. This is because the village is one of the Serbian minority communities in Kosovo and many of the families had left during or shortly after the war and have never returned. They are located 16 km, from the city of Vushtri where Kosinvest operates.
Because of the lack of economic and business opportunities in the village, as well as lack of customers to purchase or sell Abdyl, has many modes of income to provide for his family, all of which involve him selling to customers in other areas and relying on the resources around him such as wood, land and farm animals. It is evident that he and his family work very hard to continuously improve their lives and standards of living, which has been very difficult and traumatic at times.
Abdyl is a father of 5 children, ages 10, 11,12,14 and 21 years old, however his oldest son committed suicide when he was only 15 years old, in 2009. At that time Abdyl was working in construction for a private company and his wife was able to stay at home to care for the children who were between the ages of 5 and 15 years old then. Things were difficult for their family at that time financially, but they were managing to meet their daily needs and Abdyl was working hard to feed his large family. One day while Abdyl was at work and his wife was not at the home, they both returned home to find their oldest son had shot himself in the head by a gun that the family had kept for safety reasons. He did not leave any note and the family still doesn’t know the reason he had done this.
The family was in shock over this traumatic event and Abdyl’s wife, Vjollca, had the most difficult time adjusting. Her health started to suffer and from all of the stress and sadness she became a diabetic, and has struggled with the disease ever since. Currently she takes insulin that she gets for free at the clinic through social assistance but is unable to take other medications for the lung disease that she also has, and she tries to self medicate with natural and homeopathic remedies when she can. Not only did the death of their son impact the family’s living situation and emotional stability, but then Abdyl was not able to work for the construction company any longer and Vjollca had difficulty caring for their children on her own due to her illnesses. Things had become from terrible for them. Abdyl was left to not only provide the income, food and basic necessities for his children, but also care for them as his wife was too ill to manage to help him or take care of their needs. Because of his large amount of love for his wife and his children, Abdyl never complained or let himself become depressed over their situation.
Within the same year as their son’s death, another catastrophe struck this family. Somehow an electrical fire started within the home and burned the house and all of their belongings. At this time they had become homeless and life seemed very bleak and dark for them. Fortunately, a humanitarian organization built them another home and Abdyl started to sell wood he would cut down for others to have heat in the winter and was working on the land planting wheat and corn to feed his family and to sell to others for income. Although the home was small, having only 2 rooms for the entire family, they were very thankful and it gave them a sense of appreciation for what others have done for them. With a new home and some work, things were better but Abdyl was still not able to feed his entire family comfortably or provide for any of their other needs.
In 2010, Abdyl had first heard about Kosinvest through some leaflets he had seen. The leaflets talked about Kosinvest and the opportunities that the microfinance company offers to people living in rural communities in order to improve their lives. Abdyl became interested and decided at that time that would purchase a cow so that he could use the milk and various milk products such as cheese, yogurt, butter and cream for his family and to sell for profit at the markets in the city. In 2010 with his first loan, he purchased the cow and was able to see improvements in his family’s lives and his income. He was able to sell 25 liters of milk weekly, at the price of 0.50 euro per liter. Between the cow, the corn and wheat and the firewood, Abdyl was able to provide directly to his family’s nourishment and warmth, and also make a living providing income. They were finally able to have enough money for plentiful food and some ease in their hardships. He had stated after his first loan “I was very poor and my family was living in a bed conditions and the loan has improved our lives for which we are very thankful, we wish KosInvest very best and to continue working in the future to help poor people to improve the living conditions”.
Earlier this year, after realizing the benefits and profits made possible from Kosinvest loans, Abdyl decided to take a second loan in order to continue to improve his family’s living conditions and to invest into further expanding his agricultural businesses. With his second loan of 1300 euros, he purchased 4 sheep, 4 goats, and one chicken, which he pays back through installments of 86 euro per month. Goat milk and products are more expensive than those products made from cow’s milk so he has been able to earn even more income and further improve his family’s living situation selling the milk for 2 euros a liter. He has been able to purchase new furniture for their home, kitchen equipment and appliances and start saving for his children’s education. In the future, Abdyl is planning on raising and breeding the goats and sheep so that he can not only increase the milk and milk products from them, but also sell the animals at the market for even more money. He hopes with this additional expansion to his businesses and income that he will be able to provide his children with a better education that is offered in the city so that they can have a much better future and opportunities.
Additionally, the benefits from his two loans and the income he was able to generate, the improvements he made in their lives and the changes in their status have also included improvements in his wife’s health and conditions. She has noted that she has been able to see a clear difference in her health and a large decrease in her stress and anxiety. Thanks to these loans she has been able to start to care for her family again and feel much better. Abdylhas said“the loan saved me and my family life. I’m thankful that the loan has helped me to now have different food, heating and I’m able to generate more income. I am very happy for this opportunity, which has saved my life.” He also notes that microfinance really saves and improves the lives for those living in rural areas more than any bank or traditional loan will. With a bank, his lack of employment or savings would not allow for him to take a loan or give him any opportunities to try to improve his conditions.
Microfinance gives to him what he needs and provides him opportunities that he would otherwise not have.