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Borkoeva Sharkul and her family have lived in Tort-Kol Village on Issyk-Kul’s southern shore for over 50 years. Though she has lived alone since the death of her husband, she is never lonely--her grandchildren are always around. 

“Everything I do is for my children and grandchildren,” explained Borkoeva, when asked about her motivation to grow her cattle herd and small gardening business with her microloans from Kompanion Financial Group. 

She first heard about Kompanion during Kompanion’s Apple Project in 2007. Later that year she decided to take out her first loan to boost yields from her small garden and herd of cattle. 

Borkoeva took out her first loan with three other women in her village to plant seedlings in her young orchard. Since then she has taken out 10 more small loans with her group and is well on the way to paying them back. 

“I like working with this loan group because everyone in it is always working hard, unlike others who just wait for money from relatives in Russia,” she said. 

And Borkoeva is no exception. Since taking out her first loan, she has expanded her garden to include 15 apricot trees, 10 apple trees, several pear trees, grape vines, raspberry bushes and black currants. For one woman this is a bounty. 

She uses her current loans to build garden fencing, barn sheds and to make general repairs around her property. Her storage cellar, which she also built using her loans, keeps fruits and vegetables from her garden fresh all winter long. 

“These improvements on my property have allowed me to boost my business profits. By increasing my production, I am able to send more of my harvest to the market, which means more profit. I make enough now to give my children and grandchildren a more comfortable life,” Borkoeva said. 

She attributes her success to the smart borrowing practices she learned through firsthand experience. And she hopes that she can pass on her knowledge to her son who will continue to develop the business in the future. 

“I’ve learned to use my loans for business, not personal expenses. I have had no big difficulties with my Kompanion loans because I took small amounts of money each time,” Borkoeva told us.

“I’ve gained so much knowledge since I began working with Kompanion. I now know how to plant and grow trees and plants to make a profit. It’s like teaching a person how to fish instead of giving them a fish.”


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