On a hot, dusty day in mid-July, Aniza Hendi is busy tending dozens of pigeons in the backyard of her home in Khan Younis, Gaza.
She raises pigeons as well as chickens to sell as meat. The profits Aniza has earned since she started the business in 2000 have allowed her to build a home and put two of her ten children through school.
Aniza was able to start and build her business with the help of five small loans from ANERA’s Gaza Women’s Loan Fund. Since 1995, the fund has granted small loans of between $1,000 and $3,000 to thousands of women in Gaza who would otherwise not have an opportunity to see their small business ideas come to fruition. Seamstresses, grocers, farmers, artisans and many others have successfully run businesses that support their families and provide needed services to the community.
Criteria for the loans are that the recipient must be a woman, poor, have a viable idea for a new or existing business, and have co-signers to the loan. Next year, the fund will grant 150 loans.
As her husband hammers at a new coup for the pigeons, Aniza explains that she is using her fifth loan to rebuild after losing much of her business in the 2009 fighting. “Our pigeons will be much happier in this new coup. The other one was getting too small for the number of birds we are breeding.”
Thanks to the Gaza Women’s Loan Fund, Aniza and other women all over Gaza are able to take control of their lives and fulfill their ambitions to build a better future for their families and communities.