Getting entrepreneurs back on their feet

Kyrgyzstan, August 10, 2010

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Yesterday was a really good day. We approved over 130 “equity grants” (cash disbursements) to micro-entrepreneurs who suffered direct losses. Mostly their businesses or inventories had been burned or looted.

In more than half the cases their homes had also been burned. Our grants are up to $750, and while that amount will not nearly cover their actual losses it is still a significant amount of money here and will help many begin to reestablish an income stream to restart their micro business (like baking, sewing, carpentry and mini-shops).

Mercy Corps’ microfinance institution, Kompanion is also actively forgiving or restructuring loans for victims of the violence. It is really heartening to see how a little bit of good news lifts people’s spirits in spite of the horrific times they’ve been through.

Mercy Corps’ and Kompanion’s staff have also been under tremendous stress as they try to respond to the immense need. That we are now actually dispensing aid and disbursing money is a huge morale boost for them, too.