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Shaimkul Kasmalieva is a woman worthy of admiration. She is a mother of seven, and grandmother of 12, with two great grandchildren. In addition, she keeps cattle and manages a small food-store in her home village Beisheke in Chui oblast of Kyrgyzstan.   

Shaimkul and her husband are language teachers. She taught Russian and her husband taught Kyrgyz language. For their entire lives they worked in a secondary school in their village. But it was not easy to support a big family on a teacher’s salary, so the family kept livestock as well. In 1996 they opened the first village food-store. 

When their eldest daughters grew up and it was time to attend university, Shaimkul and her husband sold all their livestock to pay for education. But, meanwhile, the youngest children were growing up fast. When she retired from her job [to focus on livestock] and began receiving her pension, Shaimkul learned about Kompanion loans. Since 2004 she has been receiving loans from Kompanion. 

"The most important is to plan financial assets," she says. "We divide the loan money into two. One we use to increase commodity turnover and the second part we use to buy sheep, cows or horses. Cattle is a long-term investment, so we have insurance in case of any unexpected events. 
Such a well-thought-out approach allowed Shaimkul to pay for all her daughters’ higher education. And now she has five horses, four cows and 40 sheep which provide extra income.
"Microloans gave us chance not to make ends meet living on a pension but increase our welfare significantly. Now we plan to build a shop and billiard room on a land which we bought recently. Many people in our village are taking loans and many have improved their living conditions. Almost every family has a car and livestock. And we want our fellow villagers to have the opportunity to spend time after working day actively like we do. And our son will have a good job, he is about to finish school," Shaimkul told us in conclusion.


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