The Middle East (ME) and North Africa are among the regions with the lowest microfinance presence worldwide. Additionally, women and those living in rural communities are disproportionately affected by financial exclusion. To curb this, EQ invests in MFIs that strategically lend to women, boasting a percentage of above 75% female borrowers. Additionally, these are institutions that not only offer mostly group lending but where 40% of the total active borrowers are rural-based.
Suha, who is 42 years old, married with two children is one of these borrowers. Her life changed when she heard a FINCA Jordan ad one day on the radio. She decided then and there to take steps to improve her financial situation. She reached out to FINCA to borrow the money she needed to implement a small project that she had been thinking about for a long time.
Suha borrowed 700 USD from FINCA Jordan and bought a sewing machine. This was a high-quality machine that enabled her to create embroidery inspired by the beauty that surrounded her. She would then sew her unique Jordan-inspired embroidery on all her pieces of clothing. When she started out, Suha’s first clients were her neighbors, but by the second month, she was beyond surprised when her financial returns doubled.
With hard work and determination, Suha was able to turn what started out as a small project into a profitable business. Thanks to her stellar reputation and high-quality products, she expanded her customer base and was even able to break into the weaving and handicraft industry. When Suha first started her business, she was working out of a tiny room in her house, but thanks to her consistency and determination, she is now working on creating a purposeful space for her art. She is currently constructing an external room, next to her house, that will serve solely as her workspace. She has even started accepting tenders from some school districts to supply uniforms.
Through this business, Suha has managed to successfully educate her children, improve her home and employ one of her relatives as her assistant. Suha participates in many of the recreational activities available to the residents of the region, such as Khawla bent Al-Azwar school and Cultural Center, where she worked on the revival of the Jordanian and Palestinian heritage through embroidered clothing. She has received awards from many cultural centers at the local level and happens to be one of the awardees for the Citigroup ‘Award of Excellence.’
Suha is happy because now her family has a fixed income. She has several employees, all of whom are women with families who work from their respective houses. It makes her feel good to know that she helps them and provides them with the means to provide for their families. She works on any kind of project that includes sewing: from printing on fabric to drafting patterns and dressmaking. She and her staff are skilled enough to take in any clients no matter their needs or requirements.