KORET IN ISRAEL EXTENDS 1,000th MICROLoan THROUGH PROGRAM
ASSISTING BEDOUIN WOMEN IN THE NEGEV
(Tel Aviv, Israel May, 2009) – Koret’s
microfinance program in Israel, modeled on the celebrated lending program of
Grameen Bank, passed a significant milestone this month, facilitating its 1,000th
loan to Bedouin woman doing business in the Negev. The 1,000th loan,
extended to a Rahat woman to purchase sheep in order to produce dairy products,
brings total lending through this program to more than $1 million. Loans range
in size from $1,000 to $2,500. Since its inception, only 2.6% of loans have
suffered default, well below the worldwide 5% average in micro lending.
KIEDF established SAWA three years ago –with
the goal of helping Israel's most challenged population, Bedouin women of the
Negev, create an independent income generating activities. SAWA is the only
microcredit program in Israel implementing the solidarity group lending model
of Grameen Bank.
Among the many recent SAWA loan recipients is
Aasiyah from Rahat. Aasiyah, 31 years old, was married at the age of fourteen
and the mother of eight children by the age of twenty-two. After years of abuse
and suffering, she divorced and left her husband's home. Assiyah set up a house
for herself and her children near her family's home. Despite her efforts, her
simple home was never given building approvals and eventually was demolished.
Since she was homeless, social services took her children from her.
Aasiyah clung to her dream to build a better
life for herself and her children. She turned to Koret and received both a loan
and technical assistance to develop her own business, baking and selling
Bedouin pita bread. She now is starting to earn a living and dreams of one day
establishing a traditional Bedouin restaurant and having her children return
Daycare centers, convenience stores, hair
salons and clothing boutiques have also been established by Bedouin women
assisted by Koret. Through SAWA Koret has proven what an effective tool
micro-credit can be for alleviating poverty.
About KIEDF: KIEDF
was established in 1994 by the Koret Foundation of San Francisco to demonstrate
that philanthropy could be deployed to stimulate economic development and
employment opportunity in the private sector in Israel. To date, KIEDF has
facilitated more than $200 million in financing to over 7,300 small and micro
In 2006, KIEDF launched the Microenterprise Initiative to help disadvantaged
populations create an independent income generating activities. SAWA, one
of the initiative programs, was created in partnership with The Olivestone
Trust and is supported by foundations and donors from the
, Europe and
full list of supporters, along with other information about the organization, appears on the www.kiedf.org website.
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For more Information and
In Israel: Anna K. Avital In
the United States: Susan G. Wolfe