Om Sha'aban, West Bank/Gaza
Om Sha'aban was a young girl when she was forced to flee the fighting around her hometown of Jaffa in 1948. She settled with her husband in the Balata Refugee Camp near the city of Nablus in the West Bank. Recently, Om Sha'aban's husband died, leaving her solely responsible for a family of eight. Though she can neither read nor write, she took out a loan from Save the Children's Group Lending and Savings program. With the help of her oldest son Khamis, she began a small business as a vegetable vendor in the open air market near the camp. With her first loan of less than US$300, she purchased onions, garlic, potatoes, and greens in bulk and resold them at a profit.

The unstable economy of the West Bank often makes commerce a risky affair, yet, neither Om Sha'aban nor any of the fourteen women in her borrowing group have missed a single deadline for repayment of their loans. Om Sha'aban is nearing the end of her first loan cycle, and is planning to take out a second, larger loan. Her business is prospering and she has succeeded in providing a decent standard of living for her children. Thanks to the props from her business, her son Khamis has been able to attend college; he is the first member of their family to do so.

Name of microfinance programme: Save the Children
Source: Microcredit Summit 1997 - Institutional Profiles.

Hari Srinivas -
 Return to the Human Angle
 Return to the Virtual Library on Microcredit